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Is Derek Fisher becoming front-runner for New York Knicks job?

May 16, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT

New Orleans Hornets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

When Steve Kerr chose Golden State — the smart move in terms of basketball, money and family — and I started thinking about a Plan B list for the Knicks, I thought Derek Fisher might well end up with it.

Fisher is a Phil Jackson guy. He is a big believer in culture in the locker room and organization. He is a leader. If someone such as Jason Kidd can make the leap, Fisher would be able to fit in that mold.

Now comes a report from Frank Isola at the New York Daily News suggesting people close to the team think Fisher is the front-runner.

Oklahoma City guard Derek Fisher, who played under Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers, is emerging as a leading candidate to join Jackson in New York now that Jackson’s first choice, Steve Kerr, has agreed to terms with the Golden State Warriors. Fisher, of course, has zero head coaching experience, but Jackson believes that Fisher has the intelligence and work ethic to become successful if he happened to make the move from player to coach. Most recently, Jason Kidd went right from playing to being hired as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets…

Jackson’s plan, according to a source, would be to assemble an experienced staff around Fisher that could potentially include Kurt Rambis and Bill Cartwright, two former NBA head coaches. Jackson thinks highly of Rambis, the longtime Lakers assistant, and there is a possibility that Rambis could be hired as a head coach.

There are a number of issues here. For one, Derek Fisher still has a day job as backup point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. That job is going to keep him very busy for at least another couple weeks as OKC takes on the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. There is a real chance Fisher could be busy in the Finals through mid-June. That’s really dragging things out and shrinking the field if you don’t land Fisher.

Then there’s that whole “he’s never coached a day in his life and now we’re giving him a premier job in a tough market” thing. Or the “do you really want to bring in Kurt Rambis as an assistant after he butted heads with soon to be free agent Kevin Love” thing.

The Knicks will look at other guys, including there are renewed reports Jackson will see if he can pry Brian Shaw out of Denver. Not likely but Jackson will be casting a wider net in this second phase of the search.

All that said, Fisher makes way more sense than the clash of cultures that bringing in Mark Jackson would be to New York.

  1. adoombray - May 16, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    This is Derek Fisher. Prior committment to a current team has never meant anything to him when it comes to doing what he wants. Ask the Jazz and the Mavericks about that one. His roster spot at OKC is little more than an excuse to stay active in the NBAPA and he’s been finished as a player for 2+ seasons now (he’s still a better player than Mike Miller though)

    • antistratfordian - May 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      I don’t know about that. D.Fish is savvy and can still knock down those triples. Plus, every team needs a ring laden presence that has seen it all to impart wisdom onto thine youngins.

      • adoombray - May 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        OKC needs D. Fish about as much as the Nets needed Jason Collins. good PR move, nothing more

      • antistratfordian - May 16, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        PR? How is that even a good PR move? They wanted him for the same reason the Heat wanted him. Experienced vet, proven winner, three point threat, 0.4.

      • adoombray - May 16, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        He’s a really powerful member of the NBAPA and people like you still think he’s good when he’s shooting .273 …

      • antistratfordian - May 16, 2014 at 7:51 PM

        Well he shot .384 from distance this year. Last year in the playoffs he shot .471 from three. He may be struggling at the moment, but the guy can still shoot. I remember him dropping 5 triples on the Heat earlier this year – all very timely – which irritated the heck out of antistratfordian.

      • smoothaswilkes - May 16, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        You don’t have to be Chris Paul if you can drop .04

    • sportsfan18 - May 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM


      just go listen to Durant’s MVP speech to hear what KD had to say about Fisher…

      it would seem that KD’s opinion of Fisher is a bit different than yours… and his is a bit more important than yours too…

    • davidly - May 17, 2014 at 4:39 AM

      When it comes to doing what one wants, neither ownership, management, nor talent hesitate to cut corners off of prior commitment. You suggestion that Fisher is unique in this respect is from a narrow perspective. He just happens to have benefited from it; you don’t notice when a guy bolts for crappier pastures.

  2. cantonbound13 - May 16, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    He’s the perfect fit.

    • cantonb0und13 - May 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      I’m sure you said the same thing about Kerr. Too bad Phil Jackson isn’t Pat Riley. Riley gets his man.

      • cantonbound13 - May 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        Says the coward with no identity that is a follower. Typical heat fan.

      • jimeejohnson - May 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        He’s YOU: a typical coward and major loser. Besides that he’s ok.

      • kb2408 - May 16, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        You’re right, Phil is not Riley, Phil has a few more rings.

      • asimonetti88 - May 16, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        True, Riley made sure he got Beasley.

      • cantonb0und13 - May 16, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        So many salty Knicks fans. Move to Salt Lake City.

  3. cantonb0und13 - May 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Knicks paid Jackson about $12M per year and he can’t even get Kerr. What a joke. Obviously, Dolan is still trying to control the team. Phil Jackson is probably sitting back and saying, “why the hell did I choose to run this pathetic franchise?” this is the same franchise that acts like Shumpert is Kobe. Phil should wait for Seattle or become the next president for the Clippers.

    • cantonbound13 - May 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      How did Riley do in NY? No championship.
      How many years did it take Riley to win his controversial title in Miami as an executive? 11 years.
      What a legend!

    • jimeejohnson - May 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      Thanks for mocking that gigantic peabrain!

      • 00maltliquor - May 17, 2014 at 2:04 AM

        Swear on everything that cantonb0und13 is not you…

  4. jzone954 - May 16, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    So far canton bound has inked in everybody named to the job a perfect fit. lol. I feel for you guys.

  5. jzone954 - May 16, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Canton….how have the Knicks been at all? As in, in your lifetime?

  6. kb2408 - May 16, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    If it comes down to D. Fish choosing between the LAKERS and Knicks, Phil might have to go to plan C.

    • 00maltliquor - May 17, 2014 at 2:06 AM

      Hey, I can dig the thought of Fish being our coach. What say you?

  7. jzone954 - May 16, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    I’ll say it over and over, what do the Knicks have to lose at this point? Solid offseason thus far with the addition of Lamar Odom, with Steve Kerr saying FOH, and Melo could possibly be gone.

    • sportsfan18 - May 16, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      As long as Melo LEAVES, the Knicks off season will be a success…


  8. honkerdawg - May 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    This just in: ball boy for Phil led Bulls new candidate for Knicks. Phil says he a good fit

  9. jzone954 - May 16, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Kb24, wanna give a prediction on who gets this coaching job with the Knicks? lol

    • kb2408 - May 16, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      Well, since you asked…I would say it comes down to Mark Jackson or D. Fish. I get the feeling that you are mocking my predictions. Look, we all make predictions and most of the time we’re wrong. I’m just not afraid of being wrong! So, with that being said, Indy in 7 over the Heatles and the Spurs in 6 over OKC. Spurs win the title in 6 games over the Pacers.

  10. jzone954 - May 16, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Kb24. I’ll hold you to that one as well…

  11. ghelton03 - May 17, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    I think Fischer is the only person on the planet that could coach this situation. He should be paid royally; and then some.

  12. getsome99 - May 17, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    Brian Shaw?

    • 00maltliquor - May 17, 2014 at 2:08 AM

      He coaches Denver…

  13. kavika6 - May 17, 2014 at 5:26 AM

    Hiring Fisher would be the latest of many, many stupid mistakes in New York.

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