EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Kurt Rambis is returning to the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching staff as an assistant to Mike D’Antoni.
The Lakers hired former NBA head coaches Rambis and Johnny Davis on Monday to fill out D’Antoni’s coaching staff for his second season with the club.
Rambis was a key role player and a bespectacled fan favorite for the Lakers during the “Showtime” era. He has been associated with the team in various capacities for three decades, including a brief stint as the head coach.
He served as an assistant coach from 1994-99, 2001-04 and 2005-09, helping to guide the team to two NBA titles and four Finals appearances during coach Phil Jackson’s tenure. Rambis went 24-13 as the Lakers’ head coach during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, and he spent two stints in the Lakers’ front office.
“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,” D’Antoni said.
Rambis was thought to be a possible heir to Jackson before leaving to take over the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009. Rambis was fired in 2011 after going 32-132 in two seasons with the rebuilding franchise.
Rambis has been a television analyst for the past two seasons, frequently appearing on ESPN and the Lakers’ own Time Warner-backed network in Los Angeles.
Davis, a 10-year NBA veteran player, was the Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach in 1996-97, and he coached the Orlando Magic from 2003-05. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors.
Dan D’Antoni is the only assistant from Mike D’Antoni’s huge Lakers coaching staff who is sticking around for a second season in Los Angeles. Mike D’Antoni retained several assistants from fired coach Mike Brown’s staff when he took over five games into last season.
Steve Clifford was hired as the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach, and Eddie Jordan took over at Rutgers. Bernie Bickerstaff and Phil Handy followed Brown to Cleveland, and Darvin Ham is an assistant in Atlanta.