Now that the NBA Finals have arrived and the Oklahoma City Thunder have been eliminated from the playoffs, expect the New York Knicks to move in on Derek Fisher. Since Steve Kerr spurned the Knicks for the Golden State Warriors, very little concrete information has been released about the Knicks’ pursuit of their next head coach. Phil Jackson did admit that Fisher is a candidate in a press conference the other day, however.
According to Yahoo!, the latest New York Knicks rumors suggest that Fisher is the Knicks’ favorite candidate and that they’re the front-runners to land him:
As the Los Angeles Lakers remain cool on the pursuit of Derek Fisher as a coaching candidate, the New York Knicks continue to cement themselves as the strong frontrunner to hire him, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Knicks president Phil Jackson has been eager to sell Fisher, 39, on the possibility of Jackson mentoring him as part of a direct move from Fisher’s playing career into the Knicks head coaching job. Fisher is taking a few days to finalize his thoughts on the likely end of his 18-year playing career before fully engaging in talks to become a head coach.
Nevertheless, the Knicks and Fisher expect conversations to begin before the end of the week, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski does say that the Knicks are a more attractive position than the Lakers because the Knicks are in position for a quicker rebuild, given the cap space they’re due for in 2015. The Lakers also have been sifting through several candidates, and it doesn’t seem Fisher was ever too high on their list.
In recent days, Fisher has grown on me as a candidate. Though he’s never been better than an average NBA player — and that was at his peak — he has had continuous success on the teams he’s played for. Sure, winning rings with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol and Phil Jackson isn’t the toughest path to victory, but he’s done it consistently. And even now, playing for the Thunder, Scott Brooks has leaned on Fisher in big situations, trusting his shooting and leadership.
Does this mean he’ll be a perfect head coach? People have pinned the “future head coach” label on him for the last decade, it seems, and surely he has some qualities for the position. Jackson seems to love him and he did state he wanted a coach with a clean slate. If Fisher can come in, command the respect of the locker room, and help install a solid, diverse offense with a reliable defense, then he works for me.