(NEW YORK) — Had the Los Angeles Lakers hired Phil Jackson over Mike D’Antoni last season, Kurt Rambis was likely joining the team as an assistant coach. Fast forward to now, and Rambis still wound up on the team’s bench as they hired him as a assistant coach on Monday. Perhaps no one is more surprised than Rambis.
“Mike D’Antoni came to me several weeks ago and asked if I’d be interested in the job,” Rambis said in an interview with Lakers Nation. “Quite frankly, I was a little bit shocked about that, and for him, he said it was a no-brainer, and I jumped on it right away. I said, ‘That would be great, I think it would work out well for both of us.'”
Rambis is no stranger to the Lakers culture. This will be his third stint as a coach for the Lakers. Rambis served as an assistant coach from 1994-1999, served as head coach for 37 games back in 1999, was back as an assistant from 2001-2004, and is now back again with the team.
He also spent 10 of his 15 NBA seasons with the Lakers as well.
Last season, D’Antoni took over for Mike Brown, who was fired just five games into the season. Under D’Antoni, the Lakers went 42-30, but were swept out of the first round.
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Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN