GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks may not be winning, but the president-coach relationship is much better since Kurt Rambis took over for Derek Fisher.
The Knicks’ interim coach said he speaks to Phil Jackson “all the time” and that the team president sat in on a video session with the coaching staff last week. When Jackson fired Fisher three weeks ago, he said their communication was “one-way” and that the coaches weren’t on the same page. Rambis said they are now.
“I talk with Phil all the time and we digest games and talk about things, and look at things that happened, what could we have done better?” Rambis said Monday. “I feel comfortable that we’re all on the same page in trying to do the right thing by individuals and by this team.”
It hasn’t resulted in wins, though. The Knicks (25-36), who will host Portland tonight, have lost 14 of their last 17 overall and are 2-5 under Rambis.
When Rambis was asked how Jackson is handling this, he said “nobody’s happy” with the results right now.
“We’re all frustrated,” Rambis said. “If you’re a competitive athlete, I don’t know how you can lose games at any point in time and be OK with it. So nobody in this organization is OK with where we’re at.
“We’re striving to do things better. We’re looking at personnel decisions. We’re looking forward to free agency. There’s a lot of basketball talk and communication that’s going on, but nobody’s happy where we’re at. We’ve got to be a lot better in a lot of areas.”
That could be what led to Jackson sitting in on a video session.
Jackson talked before the season about being more hands-on with Fisher, but at the time of the firing, he made it sound as if Fisher wanted to do things his own way.
Rambis said he welcomes the input. “I’ve always been of the mindset that when you have good basketball people in an organization, that they should feel like they have a voice, they have an opinion and they should be involved,” he said. “The head coach ultimately has to come up with a decision.”
Rambis, who said he doesn’t feel as if he’s auditioning for a job, gave the Knicks a day off from practice Monday morning because they were down bodies.
Carmelo Anthony had a recovery day, Kristaps Porzingis has had knee soreness and Arron Afflalo has swelling in his knee. Rambis said an MRI was negative Monday. Afflalo is questionable for tonight’s game.
This is another difference under Rambis. He’s stressed practicing and scrimmaging so players can build chemistry. But he took some responsibility for the Knicks being fatigued and missing shots in Sunday night’s loss to Miami — they went 32-for-87 (36.8 percent) — from working them too hard. Fisher rarely took responsibility when the Knicks struggled.
“At some level, I may have pushed them a little bit too much because their workload went up by 30 percent, and that’s part of some of the fatigue factor,” Rambis said. “It may — and I emphasize the ‘may’ — have had some contributing factor to guys not shooting the ball as well as they should.”
Phil: ‘Get a grip!’
Jackson responded to his critics on Twitter on Monday and told them to “get a grip.”
After tweeting Sunday about reigning MVP Stephen Curry — “Remind you of Chris Jackson/ Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf . . . ?” — Jackson drew the ire of media and fans. He tweeted Monday, “How does commenting on Rauf mean I’m comparing him to Curry? Remind, yes, quick release, crossover, Yep, MVP, nope. Get a grip!”
Jimmer Fredette’s 10-day contract is up Wednesday. Rambis said he likes how Fredette competes and that “bodes well for him.” But Rambis reiterated that “it’s going to be very difficult for [Fredette] to break into the rotation.” Rambis also said it’s a management decision, and team officials are looking at other free agents for that roster spot . . . Cleanthony Early, who is close to returning after being shot in the right knee during a robbery in December, could play in the D-League in the near future.