NEW YORK -- Kurt Rambis did all he could to stop the New York Knicks' spiral on Tuesday night. But a new voice on the sideline ultimately yielded a familiar result.
New York fell behind by double digits early and couldn't complete a late comeback, falling short against Washington in a 111-108 loss. It was the first loss for Rambis in his new role as interim head coach and the sixth straight defeat for the Knicks.
New York (23-32) has dropped 10 of 11 games and has less than a 0.7 chance of making the postseason, according to the ESPN playoff odds tracker.
Still, Rambis hopes to beat the odds.
"We've got to figure out a way to get in the playoffs," Rambis said Tuesday. "It's so valuable for the growth of the team and the growth of the players to be in that sort of intense environment and they've got to experience that."
Rambis will have every opportunity to lead the Knicks on an improbable run to the postseason. He'll coach the team through the remainder of the season. And if he can can turn things around, don't be surprised if Jackson hires him as the Knicks' next head coach.
But if the Knicks continue to struggle under Rambis, Jackson is going to have to find a new voice for the team. That probably means he'll look for a coach willing to run the triangle offense.
He revealed as much on Monday when he said finding a coach who runs the triangle is "not paramount, but it's important."
He also said: "Someone has to match the style of the way we do things, and there's a certain style that I have that I think works."
Most interpreted these comments as further evidence that Jackson is dead-set on hiring another coach with direct ties to him, such as Luke Walton or Brian Shaw.
But Jackson hinted in a long Twitter post on Tuesday that he'd be open to considering offenses other than the triangle.
I am sad about D-Fish. However, I'm not discouraged. Here is some things pundits should know before assuming 'next'. pic.twitter.com/cFnA8TQAhx
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 9, 2016
The most telling section is the following: "...there should be a system of play that includes the group. How that is done can include the (triangle) system of basketball, but doesn't exclude other systems that include group play."
If Jackson is willing to hire a coach who lacks experience running the triangle, his list of potential candidates will expand.
Coaches such as Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Jeff Hornacek, David Blatt and Scott Brooks are available. None of these coaches are triangle disciples, but they've all had success in the NBA. And each would present an interesting candidacy for the Knicks' opening.
Brooks is a name to think about, for one reason: The Knicks have been informed that their chances of landing Kevin Durant this summer would be influenced by hiring Brooks, according to league sources.
New York faces long odds to land Durant to begin with. And their chances took a hit after Derek Fisher was fired, league sources say. As noted here previously, Fisher was going to be a factor in Durant's free agency this summer. But hiring Brooks could get Durant's attention.
Of course, it seems unlikely that Jackson would choose a coach based on the idea that Durant might want to play in New York. Also, it's important to note that Jackson has no prior relationship with Brooks and that the ex-Oklahoma City coach doesn't run the triangle offense.
Rambis, of course, checks off both of those boxes.
That's why, at this point, the Knicks' head coaching gig is his to lose. But if Jackson is willing to look outside of his list of triangle disciples, he'd have a few intriguing options.