Sunday , Aug , 09 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Why Kurt Rambis left Kobe Bryant and L.A. for Al Jefferson and Minnesota

Minnesota can only improve. The Wolves have been bad for so long there will be no pressure. But there are pieces in place: Al Jefferson is a nice post, Kevin Love has upside, Jonny Flynn should become an NBA point guard, and Ricky Rubio will be dealt for an asset. Best of all, new President David Kahn should breathe life into this struggling franchise …

Why Kurt Rambis left Kobe Bryant and L.A. for Al Jefferson and Minnesota



Breaking news mixed with analysis …

Their News: The Minnesota Timberwolves and Kurt Rambis have reached terms on a deal that will install Rambis as the Wolves’ new head coach.

Long considered a potential heir apparent to Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, Rambis was lured away from Jackson’s staff by a four-year deal believed to be worth in excess of $8 million.” (Marc Stein, ESPN)

My Gut Reaction: Kurt Rambis was in a no-win situation with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Suppose he succeeds Phil Jackson. And suppose the purple-and-gold win a championship or two. Rambis, the club’s long-time assistant, would never receive full credit. Critics would argue he was riding ‘The Zen‘.

Suppose he succeeds Jackson, except the purple-and-gold stumble, never winning a championship. Rambis would be the fall-guy; the lovable role player and wonderful assistant coach, who should never have slid into the big chair.

These scenarios are presumptuous. There was no guarantee Rambis would even replace Jackson. Sure, he looked like the natural successor, but the Lakers could just have easily turned to Brian Shaw.

Of course, Kobe Bryant would have input. ‘Black Mamba’ is still tight with New Orleans’ Byron Scott and he also would have interest in re-convincing Mike Krzyewski to leave Duke for the pro game.

Nothing was set in Los Angeles, so Rambis leaving was understandable. Still, why swap a no-win situation with the Lakers for what seems like a no-win situation with the dysfunctional Minnesota Timberwolves?

Head coaching jobs are rare. For instance, Rambis, as interim sideline boss, led the Lakers to a 24-13 regular season record, before the club lost in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. That was ten years ago in 1998-99. Rambis had to wait ten years to land another head coaching gig.

Minnesota can only improve. The Wolves have been bad for so long there will be no pressure. But there are pieces in place: Al Jefferson is a nice post, Kevin Love has upside, Jonny Flynn should become an NBA point guard, and Ricky Rubio will be dealt for an asset. Best of all, new President David Kahn should breathe life into this struggling franchise.

Perhaps, it makes sense for Rambis to swap Los Angeles’ championship glitter for Minnesota’s cold.

Should Rambis have left Los Angeles for Minnesota? Get at us in the comment box below and follow Oly Sandor on at HoopsVibe The Blog and on Twitter. Photo courtesy of welovedonny.