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Jim Cleamons a possible coaching candidate for Phil Jackson’s Knicks

Mar 16, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

jim cleamons phil Getty Images

Jim Cleamons is currently an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he was a member of Phil Jackson’s coaching staff both in Chicago and Los Angeles, and has nine championship rings to show for it.

The Bucks happened to be in town to face the Knicks on Saturday, just one day after the news of Jackson joining the team’s front office became somewhat official.

Cleamons didn’t have much to say when asked about the possibility of a reunion with Jackson, but it makes too much sense not to be considered.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Cleamons was leery of speaking at length about Jackson since he already has been linked to the Knicks. Cleamons played two seasons for legendary Knicks coach Red Holzman as a point guard from 1977-79 and was Jackson’s teammate.

“Phil is bright. He understands the game. He’s going to put good people around him,’’ Cleamons said. “That’s my feeling. I know nothing else.’’ …

“I know the offense, but I don’t know what his plans are,’’ Cleamons said of Jackson trying to hire a coach who runs the Triangle. “I’m worried about the Milwaukee Bucks. You have to ask Phil that question.’’

Many believe Jackson will want to install a head coach familiar with the Triangle offense that was a staple of all of his championship teams, and Cleamons knows it as well as anyone. Whether in a head coaching role or as an assistant, he may be the active coach most qualified to teach it.

But even if the offense isn’t a consideration, the relationship is. For Jackson to put his stamp on the Knicks, he’ll need to have a coach in place he can trust to give him honest feedback about what’s truly going on with the team’s players — making the choice to add Cleamons in some capacity perhaps too easy to pass up.

  1. tfoz5150 - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Mo Cheeks 2.0.

  2. legend30 - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Phil Jackson will have the same impact Bill Parcells had with the Dolphins… Nothing. Phil Jackson is just getting some experience as the president/general manager, before he returns to L.A. or signs with Seattle (once they get a team back).

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      Typical comment from a Heat bandwagon fan. Deep down you know he owns Pat Riley. You’re jealousy is very noticeable.

      • legend30 - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        I live in South Florida, been a Heat fan before they even had Wade. And last time I checked Miami owner is Micky Arison, while the Knicks have James Dolan. I can see Phil Jackson being a good G.M. I just don’t trust James Dolan. Phil Jackson is going to make all of the moves, but James Dolan wants the spotlight. For example, look at Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 16, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        “For example, look at Jerry Jones”

        Jerry Jones would never hire someone like Phil Jackson to take the spotlight away from him.

      • legend30 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        asimonetti88, you don’t get the point. Jerry is like Dolan. Johnson is like Jackson. I understand Jackson has 11 rings and Johnson has two. But when the Cowboys were dominating in the 90’s a lot of people gave credit to Johnson. So what does Jerry do? He fires him. If the Knicks starts to have success everyone is going to credit P. Jackson. So what is Dolan going to do? Fire him. Who knows maybe Dolan will start to change, but history indicates that will not happen.

        Many people thinks I’m this Knicks hater, I just don’t trust Dolan.

  3. legend30 - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    cantonbound, what team do you even like? I feel like you’re Skip Bayless, a 60-year-old virgin. All you do is comment about the Heat, similar how Skip Bayless loves Tebow. I just don’t trust Dolan. There’s no need to hate on Riley. Knicks most recent championship……..? 1973. That’s a long time ago… Over FOUR DECADES! Are you a Cleveland fan? Knicks fan? I have no idea, you’re the definition of a bandwagon.

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      Do you pay attention? I’ve been over this a thousand times. I’ve lived in Miami for over 18 years now, moved from NY. All my life I’ve loved the Knicks, Dolphins & Yankees. Never jumped on a bandwagon. Since I was 5 years old, I would come to Florida every summer & that’s how I came to be a Dolphin fan. I never went to a single Guants or Jets game in my life but hundreds of Dolphin games growing up. I don’t hop on bandwagons. Nice try. You’re just upset because I am one of thousands living in South Florida that won’t support the Heat .

      • legend30 - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Cool. Well how many times do I have to tell you I live in South Florida? Yet you still call me a bandwagon Heat fan. Do you pay attention? Why would I be upset that you’re a Knicks fan? You never went to a Giants or Jets game … who freaking cares, what does that I have to do with anything? You’re acting like everyone is a Heat bandwagon, which is why I can’t stand you. You’re the reason why I can’t stand PBT sometimes, you’re comments get’s really old quickly. All you do is talk S*** about the Heat. Calling out LeBron, now Riley? I only talk s*** about James Dolan. What happens if LeBron goes to the Knicks, all of sudden you will be on his d***. I have no problem with you liking the Knicks, Dolphins and Yankees as long as you stick with them, then that’s fine. I will no longer call you a bandwagon fan. And I will never respond to you’re comment again, because at this point, what’s the point? You’re going to continue to talk s*** about the Heat. I said Phil Jackson can be successful with the Knicks, but watch out for James Dolan. I actually want the Knicks to become a contender, because it’s better for the NBA. That’s it for now.

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      That’s inaccurate. Skip Bayless gets more (kitty) then a pet shop.

  4. mackcarrington - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Didn’t Cleamons flop terribly as a head coach before?

    • fm31970 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      Yes, in Dallas IIRC…with not great players mind you, but still, it was bad. Not Quinn Buckner bad, but still, bad.

      I agree with legend30, though, in that this move is just Phil getting his foot in the door. He doesn’t need to even put together a championship level roster with the way the last decade has gone in NY, so even a solid, #5 seed level (an I mean in a normal year, where the five seed is above .500) with no ridiculous contracts (i.e. Stoudemire) will earn him some praise and respectability as a GM. With his relationship with Jeanie Buss there will be something happening with him returning to the Lakers, especially once Kobe retires.

      It will be interesting…

  5. csbanter - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Why no mention of Clemons time as Mavericks coach in mid 90s ? All these bogus theories on the next Knicks coach.

  6. jzone954 - Mar 16, 2014 at 7:08 PM


  7. 00maltliquor - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Well…..that’s not very splashy.

  8. spursareold - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Phil, desperately trying to copy Pop’s coaching tree. Cleamons failed once already, and Shaw is losing in Denver.

    Good luck with that.

    • mackcarrington - Mar 17, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Rambis didn’t do so hot either.

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