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Long the presumed heir to Phil Jackson in Los Angeles, the former bespectacled Lakers forward signed a four-year deal with Minnesota
Dan Patrick: How tough was the decision to leave L.A.?
Kurt Rambis: When I looked at the pros and cons of coming to Minnesota, there were a lot more pros than cons. There's an upside to this organization, and they gave me a contract that would allow me the time to build. We're going to take our lumps early, but we feel very confident that we can add the pieces. And I know the Lakers want Phil to coach as long as he wants, whether it's one year or six. You just don't know how long he's going to be there.
DP: Did you want Phil to say, "Stay here. I'm only going to coach a little while longer, and then you take over"?
KR: I don't think that's what I wanted to hear, and I don't think he could have made that promise. I do not believe that [Lakers owner] Jerry Buss has somebody in mind beyond Phil Jackson.
DP: How close did you come to taking the Sacramento job earlier this summer?
KR: They have very nice owners, and I love Geoff Petrie, the general manager there, but it just wasn't the right opportunity. They're in a fairly similar situation to Minnesota, but Minnesota made a long-term commitment and gave me a nice four-year contract, so I'm going to have the time to do the things I want. Sacramento was not willing to commit to that length of time.
DP: I just looked at the roster on the Timberwolves' website. Ricky Rubio is on it. Your name is not. Is that contract signed?