The story is told that Rambis was never interested in the job, but instead suggested that Jackson hire Jeff Hornacek to lead the team.
Jackson spoke on Rambis via Today’s Fastbreak:
It was Kurt Rambis who first suggested Jeff. They had played together in Phoenix for several seasons so Kurt had a good read on Jeff
Knicks fans were sure Jackson would hire Rambis to run the triangle offense, but it was never really the coach he wanted.
Rambis never revealed his true feelings on not being offered the position, and Jackson found whatever reason he could to justify his choice.
After Jeff retired, he was still living in Phoenix but accepted a job as Utah’s shooting coach. Whenever he could, Jeff would commute from Phoenix to Salt Lake City so he could spend as much time as possible with his family. So, his being such a devoted family man was another thing that impressed me.
In the end, Jackson says he was enamored with Hornacek’s professional and personal commitments, and that was the underlying quality that secured him the job.
Whether this is all true or not is unknown because it’s all Jackson’s lone account of the situation.
It’s not very important how it happened at this stage, because the NBA season will be back in one month, and the new-look Knicks will have to prepare and be ready for another long season.