Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported the story, via Twitter:
Former Lakers, Bucks assistant Jim Cleamons to join Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s staff, reunites with NY president Phil Jackson, sources.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) August 18, 2014
Cleamons coached with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson for seven seasons with the Chicago Bulls, earning four championship rings, and was later on Jackson’s staff with the Los Angeles Lakers for both of the Zen Master’s stints in L.A., winning another five titles.
He would join another longtime Jackson assistant, Kurt Rambis, on Fisher’s staff.
Cleamons, who will be 65 next month, is the epitome of a basketball lifer, with more than 30 years in coaching following a nine-year NBA career as a player.
He was the 13th overall pick by the Lakers out of Ohio State in 1971 and played one year with the Lakers, five with the Cleveland Cavaliers and two with the Knicks before splitting his final season between the Knicks and the Washington Bullets.
He was an All-Defensive selection for the Cavaliers in 1975-76 and picked up his first NBA championship ring as a rookie with the Lakers in 1972.
Cleamons has some head coaching experience. He was 12-44 in two seasons at Youngstown State from 1987-89, immediately before joining Jackson for the first time with the Bulls, and had a disastrous 28-70 mark in parts of two seasons as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks from 1996-97.
He later was a head coach with the American Basketball League’s Chicago Condors in 1998-99 and with Zhejiang Guangsha in the Chinese Basketball League in 2011-12.
He spent last season as an assistant for Larry Drew with the Milwaukee Bucks and he has experience being on the wrong side of crowds at Madison Square Garden.
When the Knicks signed Cleamons as a veteran free agent in 1977, the Cavaliers were awarded franchise legend Walt Frazier as compensation.