As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to deliver a pitch to Dwight Howard on Tuesday with the hope of convincing him to re-sign with the purple and gold, two interesting names have popped up: Kurt Rambis and Johnny Davis.
Rambis, as Laker fans will know, was the lead assistant for Phil Jackson; a Laker legend turned triangle advocate, who worked closely with Andrew Bynum during his days in Los Angeles. Rambis was also known to be in charge of Jackson’s defense.
As for Davis, he was Howard’s first coach when he came into the league, a time when the game was still fun for Dwight and everybody loved him.
It’s probably no coincidence that these two names have emerged at such a crucial time. According to ESPN, the two coaches are under consideration to join Mike D’Antoni‘s coaching staff, while Adrian Wojnarowski described Rambis as a “strong” candidate to have a seat on D’Antoni’s bench next season.
When Phil Jackson retired, almost every sign of his sideline touch was removed. Rambis had already left for a head coaching job in Minnesota, yet it appeared that the team – aside from Jeanie Buss, of course – wanted to move away from everything Phil. The mere fact that the team is considering Rambis appears to be a sign that the team is open to bringing back some of Phil’s influence, even if it’s through a third party.
That shows progress by the Lakers, and it shows Howard that it’s possible that aspects of the triangle could be woven into D’Antoni’s system.
But how about D’Antoni? Does he really want an assistant coach to come in and start messing with his offense, especially if that coach is one of Phil Jackson’s good friends? Honestly, he probably doesn’t have any choice if he wants to keep his job, though he’s said to be “on board” according to David Aldridge:
[pullquote]D’Antoni was, reportedly, more than OK with the move, if it helps keep Howard — “Mike’s on board,” one source said.[/pullquote]
Howard wants to play in a system where his game is featured, and that’s understandable. He also probably wants a coach who gets what it’s like to be a big man in the NBA – Kevin McHale is said to be one of the main reasons the Houston Rockets are reportedly high on Dwight’s list – and Kurt would definitely be pro-post play, unlike D’Antoni who now famously, and possibly regrettably, called post-ups “one of the least efficient plays in basketball” during his introductory press conference.
If Rambis is on board, Howard can be assured that Phil’s influence will be both seen and heard.
And the best part? Nobody gets fired.
As much many Laker fans would like to see D’Antoni get the boot, it’d not only be bad for the Lakers’ image – as they’d give up on yet another coach just eight months into his tenure – but D’Antoni’s firing would do no good for Dwight Howard’s already badly damaged reputation. This way, in theory at least, everybody’s happy. But in reality? I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.