Phil Jackson met with the media Monday after relieving Derek Fisher of his coaching duties earlier in the day.
“It was time for us to make a change and turn this team around,” Jackson said.
The Knicks, 23-31, have dropped nine of their last 10 games, and sit 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Assistant coach Kurt Rambis was named interim coach and will remain in that role for the remainder of the season.
“I have complete confidence in Kurt,” Jackson said.
Rambis takes over with plenty of coaching experience. He was an assistant coach under Jackson with the Lakers from 2001-04 and from 2005-09, winning four NBA championships together. He also served as the head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves for two seasons.
Rambis understands the task at hand.
“You always have a goal of making the playoffs,” Rambis said. “We need to find a way to right the ship to make a push for the playoffs.”
For Rambis, it starts with defense, which he says has taken a significant decline from earlier in the season. On the offensive side of the ball, Rambis called for improved execution and ball movement.
It all begins Tuesday as Rambis makes his debut as Knicks coach against the Wizards (7:30 PM, MSG).