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Will New York Knicks President Phil Jackson Call Frank Hamblen About Joining Coaching Staff?

May 21st, 2014 at 7:07 AM
By Matt Agne

In case no one has clued into Phil Jackson's strategy in hiring coaches he is going to those he's comfortable with. Some he's coached, other's he's coached with. That being said, will he call long time assistant Frank Hamblen to return to the NBA and join the New York Knicks coaching staff?

'2013 New York Knicks 2' photo (c) 2013, Michael Tipton - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It only makes sense that Phil Jackson would bring in people he knows and he's comfortable with to join him in New York. After all he wants the New York Knicks to run his triangle offense and to change the culture of basketball in Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, the pool of coaching talent that have intimate knowledge of the triangle is pretty small. Fortunately for Jackson, he knows pretty much everybody who does know the system.

One such coach is Frank Hamblen. Hamblen has over 40 seasons of experience coaching professional basketball. He served as the top assistant to Jackson, Del Harris and Mike Dunleavy. He started as an NBA scout right out of college. He's served as an assistant on multiple staffs and even has executive experience from serving as the Director of Player Personnel for a team in the American Basketball Association.

All in all, He was an assistant coach on four NBA teams (Kansas City/Sacramento KingsMilwaukee BucksChicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers). He also was named interim head coach of two teams; the 1992 Bucks and the 2005 Lakers.

During that time, Hamblen was an assistant coach on seven championship teams (two under Jackson with the Bulls and five under Jackson with the Lakers). However, he's been out of the NBA since Jackson retired after the 2010–11 season.

To say he's an expert of the triangle offense would be an understatement. Hamblen has not only served as an assistant to Phil Jackson also to triangle offense architect Tex Winter himself.

Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports Hamblen is one of the coaches Jackson is considering bringing to New York.

Sources say that Jackson likewise has interest in a number of veteran coaches he has worked with previously, including Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons, Bill Cartwright and Frank Hamblen.

Fortunately, Al Iannazzone of Newsday reports that the interest is mutual.

But Hamblen, a longtime assistant coach under Phil Jackson, said if the Knicks' president called and asked him to work for him again, he would get on a plane to New York.

"Absolutely," Hamblen said. "I'm bored to death."

He added, "Opportunity is an amazing thing. I know Phil was sitting in Playa Del Rey bored to death, itching to get back in. I don't know if he'll even call. I don't know what's going through his mind. But he has my number."

That is a phone call that is very likely to happen. First Jackson will get a head coach in place. Then he'll likely hear his phone ring. Hamblen is a no-brainer of a hiring. At 67 years old, Hamblen would certainly be the elder statesmen of the coaching but he'd also be one of the most knowledgeable.

Hiring Hamblen would help Jackson reach his goal of quickly and seamlessly introducing the Knicks to the triangle offense. He'd be the closest thing the Knicks could get to having Jackson on the sideline without Jackson returning to the coaching ranks.

Tags: Basketball, Bill Cartwright, Chicago Bulls, Del Harris, Frank Hamblen, Jim Cleamons, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Kurt Rambis, Mike Dunleavy, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Tex Winter

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