Knicks Head Coach Search: Latest News and Rumors on Vacant Position

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 3: Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors addresses the media after Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Getty Images

Updates from Monday, June 9

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report passed along a major development in the Knicks' coaching search:

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports passed along the terms of Fisher's deal with New York:

Updates from Sunday, June 1

Marc Berman of the New York Post provides a statement from Derek Fisher discussing his future in the NBA following the Thunder's loss to the Spurs in Game 6 of the 2014 Western Conference Finals:

Fisher will have his exit meeting with Thunder coach Scott Brooks on Sunday and realizes the Knicks are waiting on him.

"I'll try to [do] that as soon as possible for all parties involved and can make the decisions that need to be made," Fisher said. "Interview is a strong word at this point. I haven’t had any direct conversations with any executives — Phil Jackson, the Lakers. I think interview is a strong word. There'll be conversations at some point. This is still pretty raw and fresh — at least for the next day or two." ...

... Jackson confirmed Friday he "definitely" will speak with Fisher, but added there are "lots of unknowns" on whether Fisher will take the job, referring to the veteran point guard's young children in Los Angeles.

Updates from Monday, May 19

As the rumors surrounding Derek Fisher continue to heat up, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard commented on the situation via USA Today's Sam Amick:

"I literally have not given any thought," Fisher told USA TODAY Sports when asked specifically whether he wants to be a coach. "I've kept all my options open for years for that reason. I've been asked for more than a decade what I'm doing next.

"(But) I think you have to want to do anything you decide to do that requires the type of time and effort that coaching requires. You go through your process at the appropriate time, and then you decide from there."

Later in the evening, ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported that you could cross one name off the list for the Knicks head coaching vacancy:

The Knicks still have interest in Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw but do not currently plan to ask the Nuggets' permission to speak with him. Because league rules restrict teams to offering only cash or draft picks as compensation for coaches, and not players, sources say New York fears it likely can't meet the Nuggets' demands if it were to try to get Shaw out of his contract. 

Jackson is a longtime Shaw fan who, sources say, would have had the Nuggets coach atop his wish list (along with Kerr) had Shaw been a coaching free agent this summer. But the Knicks' barren cache of draft picks would appear to snuff out any hope of extricating Shaw from the last two years of a three-year contract that averages roughly $2 million per season.

Updates from Sunday, May 18

As the search for the next Knicks head coach rolls on, Phil Jackson is considering a current NBA player whose team is still in the playoffs, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne:

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson continues to send out signals that he's in no rush to hire a coach until he can seriously discuss the position with Oklahoma City's Derek Fisher, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told on Sunday that Jackson is planning to proceed with a deliberate coaching search after the Knicks, convinced they were getting Steve Kerr, watched their runaway No. 1 candidate choose the Golden State Warriors instead.

Fisher's interest in coaching remains a matter of debate, with Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks telling the New York Daily News over the weekend that it wouldn't surprise him if the 18-year-veteran decided to play on for one more season. Either way, Fisher is trying to deflect all questions about his future -- as a coach or front-office executive -- until after the playoffs, hoping to limit distractions as the Thunder prepare to face the San Antonio Spursin the Western Conference finals starting Monday night.

Updates from Saturday, May 17 has an interesting tidbit on a potential candidate for the Knicks' head coaching vacancy: 

On ESPN Radio on Friday, Stephen A. Smith reported that Brian Shaw, currently serving as head coach of the Nuggets, is attempting to get out of his contract in order to become head coach of the Knicks (Stephen A. Smith, ESPN Radio).

Phil Jackson and the Knicks were recently linked to Shaw, and it was reported Thursday that he was happy in Denver.

Updates from Friday, May 16

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports Phil Jackson had a meeting today with a former head coach:

According to an eyewitness, Jackson met with grizzled veteran coach Mike Dunleavy for two hours Friday morning over breakfast at a downtown Chicago hotel. Jackson is in Chicago for the pre-draft combine.

An NBA source confirmed the breakfast meeting and said the Brooklyn-born Dunleavy actually has used elements of the triangle during his NBA coaching stints.

Berman previously reported a former head coach is emerging as another candidate to fill the Knicks' vacant head-coaching position:

The Knicks coaching search is expanding beyond geometry. Phil Jackson, according to an NBA source, is OK hiring a head coach who doesn’t specialize in the triangle.

According to the source, that means Mark Jackson is on Jackson’s tentative list that once included just one name. But now Steve Kerr is headed to Golden State and Jackson is headed on a more expansive search.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News previously reported Derek Fisher is emerging as a top candidate to fill the Knicks' vacant head-coaching position. However, Fisher spoke on the connection following the Thunder's victory against the Clippers:

ESPN's Ian Begley previously reported on Phil Jackson's interest in Brian Shaw:

Brian Shaw told the Denver Post on Thursday that he wouldn’t be interested in the Knicks’ job. But that won’t stop Phil Jackson from attempting to pry Shaw from the Nuggets. 

Sources told’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne on Thursday that Jackson “intends to explore” whether the Nuggets are open to releasing Shaw from his 3-year pact in exchange for some sort of compensation. 

Shaw told the Denver Post on Thursday that he would decline Jackson’s offer -- if the Zen Master ever made one. 

“I'm not interested in doing anything other than what I'm doing right now," Shaw told the newspaper. 

Updates from Wednesday, May 14

TNT's David Aldridge reports that Steve Kerr has accepted the Warriors head coaching position:

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne has more on the Knicks' next step:

Updates from Monday, May 12

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the latest details on the Knicks negotiations with Steve Kerr:

Updates from Sunday, May 11

Ian Begley of ESPN New York has the latest details as the Knicks continue to court Steve Kerr for their head coaching vacancy:

Negotiations to finalize an agreement between Steve Kerr and the Knicks are progressing toward the final stages, sources close to the talks confirmed to ESPN New York. 

In the wake of's report Saturday that the Warriors fear Kerr is "too deep" into talks with the Knicks to take the Golden State job, one source told ESPN New York that negotiations between Kerr and the Knicks are "pretty far down the road." 

Another league source with knowledge of the talks said Sunday the discussions would "pick up" on Monday. 

Updates from Monday, May 5

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports provides an update on the Knicks' pursuit of Steve Kerr:

Updates from Tuesday, April 29

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Knicks are attempting to hire Steve Kerr in the coming days:

Updates from Wednesday, April 23

Al Iannazzone of Newsday provides a synopsis of Phil Jackson discussing the Knicks' vacant head-coaching position:

Original Text

This is what Phil Jackson gets paid the big bucks for.

The New York Knicks have fired Mike Woodson after a disastrous 2013-14 NBA season, per's Ian Begley. The Knicks did the seemingly impossible this year: failing to qualify for the playoffs in the paper-thin Eastern Conference.

Now, Jackson and the rest of New York's management are on the search for the man who can right the ship and make the franchise a contender again.

Begley handicapped who the Knicks' most likely options are, and former NBA champion and current TNT analyst Steve Kerr sits at the top of the list:

Kerr has long been viewed as the leader in the clubhouse to replace Woodson. It would surprise no one around the NBA if Kerr was hired by the end of the week. Kerr is close with Jackson. He won three titles in Chicago playing under the Zen Master. He also has an intimate knowledge of the triangle offense, which is believed to be a prerequisite to any coach Jackson hires.

Some, though, wonder whether Kerr would want to leave his position at TNT in order to take over a team in as much trouble as the Knicks are.

CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported that the five-time NBA champion would in fact jump at the chance to re-enter the league in an official capacity:

Kerr loves his job and is very good at it, but league sources say he is intrigued with the idea of coaching. If Kerr were to leave his enjoyable and relatively low-stress existence as a top-flight TV analyst and "get back in the meat grinder," as one source put it recently, it would have to be a very big job and the circumstances surrounding it would have to be the right fit.

Coaching the Knicks is a very big job that, based on the $12 million a year the Knicks are paying Jackson not to coach, would provide a very comfortable salary. As for the circumstances, executing Jackson's vision on the bench -- just as he did on the floor as a player for three of Jackson's championship teams in Chicago -- would seem to be pretty ideal.

Kerr is refusing to talk about the situation, declining to comment to both Frank Isola of the New York Daily News and Grantland's Zach Lowe:

At this early stage, Brian Shaw appears the only other contender for the Knicks' head coaching gig, but as Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix pointed out, Shaw already has a job, having finished up his first season with the Denver Nuggets:

It's not impossible for Shaw to take the job, but he might be reluctant to leave Denver after only one year. In addition to that, the Knicks would also have to give something to the Nuggets in return for Shaw voiding his three-year contract.

No matter who takes the job, the new Knicks head coach will have a massive task ahead in order to make New York an elite team again.

The problems plaguing the organization go very deep and are the result of years of mismanagement. Should Carmelo Anthony opt out of his current deal and sign elsewhere, that would make things even more difficult.

Bringing in Jackson as the team's president and hiring a new head coach are only the first steps of what will be a long process for the organization.


    Report: Melo Not Planning to Opt Out of Contract

    NBA logo

    Report: Melo Not Planning to Opt Out of Contract

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    MPJ's Status for Next Season Unclear

    NBA logo

    MPJ's Status for Next Season Unclear

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Bowen Rips Kawhi: 'Nothing but Excuses'

    NBA logo

    Bowen Rips Kawhi: 'Nothing but Excuses'

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Sexton Doesn't Feel Pressure to Fill Kyrie's Shoes

    NBA logo

    Sexton Doesn't Feel Pressure to Fill Kyrie's Shoes

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report