Sports Out West

Kurt Rambis joins Lakers as assistant coach

Photo Credit: Minnesota Star Tribune

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak announced on Monday that former Laker player and coach Kurt Rambis will be the newest member of the coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Mike D’Antoni. 

They also added longtime NBA coach Johnny Davis to join Dan D’Antoni, Larry Lewis and Mark Madsen on the staff. 

“Kurt and Johnny bring many years of NBA experience both as coaches and as former players to this team,” said Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni in a statement released by the Lakers. “Kurt is a great basketball mind, extremely good at working with big men and his experience as a head coach in this league is going to prove very helpful to our staff. Johnny is a two-time NBA head coach with years of experience playing as well as coaching in this league. The vast array of NBA knowledge he brings to the table will be invaluable to us.”

Rambis is especially close to the Lakers organization after winning four titles as a member of the “Showtime”-era Lakers in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988. He then served as an assistant in Los Angeles on three separate occasions from 1994-1999, 2001-2004 and 2005-09. He went on to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2009-2011 before serving as a basketball analyst for ESPN and Time Warner Cable Sportsnet. 

The most intriguing aspect of Rambis coming back is that he is one of the key remnants of the Phil Jackson-era, where the Lakers have appeared to separate from in recent years, though Jackson and Kupchak remain close and talk basketball on a regular basis in a non-formal capacity. Rambis was thought to be a good candidate to serve as a future head coach of the Lakers, but was never given the opportunity for a variety of reasons. 

As the Lakers move into a transitional period from a franchise standpoint, their latest coaching hire shows a welcome willingness to add pieces in the coaching ranks that know the inner-workings of the organization when it was at its best. 

 

 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.