Skip to content

Derek Fisher says relationships with Phil Jackson, Lakers add ‘huge layers’ to his coaching decision

Jun 1, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

Phil Jackson Derek Fisher Getty Images

Derek Fisher has been linked to the Knicks head coaching vacancy for weeks now, despite still being employed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and playing meaningful minutes for them throughout a run that just ended Saturday at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.

Now that the Thunder’s season is over, Fisher can more seriously contemplate the options that lay before him, which seem to include the Knicks job as well as one potentially with the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was too soon for Fisher to have made anything resembling a future career decision, but speaking to reporters at exit interviews on Sunday, he did admit that his prior relationships with Phil Jackson and the Lakers organization will make his eventual choice a complicated one, no matter the direction he goes.

From Royce Young of

“There’s for sure huge layers added to [the decision],” Fisher said. “The personal relationship and professional relationship that I’ve had with Phil Jackson over the years, and being in the position that he’s in. And also, with the Lakers having an opening, it for sure adds layers to it. But like other important decisions in life, I don’t think you can be driven by what’s going on externally. You have to have an internal set of boundaries and just kind of a compass that you make decisions by. I’ll combine all those things as I try and make the best decision possible.”

On Friday, Jackson said Fisher is “a person that’s on my list of guys that could be very good candidate for this job.”

In the closing moments of Game 6, in which the Thunder were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs, Fisher took extra time to exit the floor, later saying he wanted to understand and appreciate the moment, knowing it could be his last on the floor in his 18-year career. After signing a one-year deal last July, Fisher announced via Instagram that this would be his final season, but has since wavered a bit, seeming to consider a return.

Fisher went on to discuss how he believes working in a front office or coaching from the sidelines would help him achieve his calling in life, which is helping others from a leadership position.

He’s always been a respected locker room presence and a calm leader on the floor who’s produced in the most pressure-packed situations, but coaching presents an entirely different set of challenges. Jason Kidd went directly from playing to being a head coach, and Fisher’s demeanor would seem to allow him to do the same — whether in New York with Phil Jackson immediately, or eventually somewhere else.

  1. lakerade - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    I’m for it.

  2. eugenesaxe1 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    If you want to “help others from a leadership position”, go run a homeless shelter. Don’t act like coaching is some sort of “calling”.

    • duhwighthoward - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      Congratulations, you beat me and several other probasketballtalk regulars out for Hater of the Year 2014!

      • jpstyles314 - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:13 AM

        Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate….

      • eugenesaxe1 - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:42 AM

        I just want you to know…I hate all of you, and wish you nothing but bad things in life.

    • delyce22 - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:12 AM

      For real. Who are you really helping?

    • AZ Dem - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      You’re such an A double S that I don’t know why I’m wasting my time.

      I played organized sports all the way through varsity. I always played in the summer leagues and one year, my coach was Rich Falk. At the time he was the Head Coach of Northwestern University. He taught me a lot about basketball, but a lot about life as well. He taught all of us. We were all better people for it.

      In regards to Derek Fisher, you should be ashamed of yourself. How dare you!!! Do you know who this man is? Do you know the suffering he has had to endure?

      • duhwighthoward - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        Good point. I too played high school sports. And like Fisher, I won multiple championships. Now I’m quite wealthy to boot. You haven’t a clue as to how I’ve suffered! Woe is me!

      • eugenesaxe1 - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        I don’t know why you wasted your time either.
        Coaching a bunch of millionaires isn’t some mission from a higher power. Dude wants to help people, let him coach inner-city kids. Run basketball camps. Something that matters in the real world.
        Do be careful, I’d hate for you to fall off your pedestal whilst preaching. Actually, I couldn’t care less.

  3. floridascuba1 - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Fisher doesn’t understand loyalty. He lost respect after the move he pulled in Dallas.

    • jpstyles314 - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:15 AM

      He was never loyal to Dallas, nor should he have been.

  4. campcouch - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    Maybe Jackson should stop looking for his former players and find an experienced coach. I don’t even know why the president of operations is doing it,that pretty much makes the GM a useless post. He seems to have this hang-up on the Triangle and he needs to let it go. Fisher sounds like he’d be more interested in coaching the Lakers than the Knicks. You have former players that are coaching like Bill Cartwright that could fit the role.

    • kb2408 - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:07 AM

      There’s a reason why former players like Cartwright, Ewing and Kareem haven’t gotten coaching jobs…the people that do the hiring, probably get the sense that they wouldn’t be very good at it.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:49 AM

      Jackson wants to coach w/o leaving the office, he needs a puppet with a blank slate to do that.

      • beach305 - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        The problem is that you can’t simply phone it in. Coaching is about managing players, during the game. It’s a lot like a chess match. How is a puppet going to know when to make a change during the flow of a game. Is the coach going to have an earplug so that Phil can coach from his suite?

    • AZ Dem - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      The GM Steve Mills does not have much of a basketball background. He’s managed Madison Square Garden, but his background is mostly in promotional work. He does the day to day, grind it out work. But he does not make basketball decisions. Never has.

    • sonnysuave - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Makes total sense, campcouch… let go of the system that’s won him ELEVEN RINGS! Real smart advice.

      • beach305 - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        its not the system, but the coach and most importantly the talent.

  5. kev86 - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    Phil Jackson is smarter and more successful than the person reading this post. Go Knicks.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2473)
  2. K. Irving (2164)
  3. A. Davis (1880)
  4. K. Bryant (1539)
  5. L. James (1532)
  1. A. Aminu (1429)
  2. K. Durant (1404)
  3. M. Leonard (1391)
  4. T. Thompson (1315)
  5. A. Jefferson (1217)