D’Antoni hires Rambis, Davis as assistants

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired veteran coaches Kurt Rambis and Johnny Davis to their staff as assistant coaches, the team said Monday.

Rambis, an ESPN analyst, rejoins the team after serving as an assistant coach on and off between 1999 and 2009; he was the lead assistant from 2001-04 and 2005-09. He has eight championship rings as a player, coach and front-office executive.

“Kurt is a great basketball mind, extremely good at working with big men and his experience as a head coach in this league is going to prove very helpful to our staff,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said in a statement.

Davis brings more than 20 years of NBA coaching experience to the Lakers, including stints as coach for the Orlando Magic (2003-05) and Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97).

“Johnny is a two-time NBA head coach with years of experience playing as well as coaching in this league,” D’Antoni said. “The vast array of NBA knowledge he brings to the table will be invaluable to us.”

Rambis left the Lakers in 2009 to become coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves but was fired after two seasons with the rebuilding club.

“Mike and I have known each other for a long period of time,” Rambis told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Monday when asked how the job under D’Antoni came about. “We were coaches in a basketball camp many years ago in Phoenix. The NBA used to have a camp there for draftees and potential draftees that we worked out, so we’ve known each other for a long time. It was a comfortable environment for Mike to just come up and ask if I was interested in getting back into coaching and if I was interested in getting back involved with the Lakers.”

Rambis said former Lakers coach Phil Jackson was in favor of the move.

“We’re still friends,” Rambis said of Jackson. “We still talk basketball. He’s back in Montana. He’s got a lot of family and friends back there now, so he’s dealing with an awful lot of people at his homes there. So, he’s focusing on them. But, he thinks this is a great opportunity for me and he’s excited about it.”

However, Rambis made it clear that his loyalty is to D’Antoni even though he will maintain a relationship with Jackson.

“I’m here to support Mike,” Rambis said. “It doesn’t mean that I won’t talk to everybody and anybody about basketball. I’ve done that my entire life. I don’t think anybody knows everything about basketball. There’s always good ideas, even if it’s just drills for practices. So, it’s always good to talk basketball with people. I think whenever you’re a coach at any level in any situation, the more conversations you have with different people — especially successful people — it only benefits you.”

This article was originally posted on ESPN.com