Derek Fisher Named Head Coach of New York Knicks

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2014

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Updates from Tuesday, June 10

Marc Berman of the New York Daily News has the latest from Derek Fisher's introductory press conference with the New York Knicks:

Fisher provided his thoughts on Carmelo Anthony's future with the franchise, per Berman:

Sportscenter gave Phil Jackson's take on how Fisher will approach Carmelo:

The new head coach also said he likes the Knicks' roster:

Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York has more:


Original Text

Following a successful career that spanned five teams and nearly two decades, five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher is making a permanent move to the bench. The team announced the move on Tuesday:  

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported on Monday that the 39-year-old point guard was close to a deal with the New York Knicks that would make him the team's new head coach:

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provided some of the financial details:

Beck mentioned some potential names for Fisher's staff: 

The Knicks have not confirmed the hire, but did announce a press conference for tomorrow (via Ian Begley of ESPN):

Fisher won all five of his titles as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers across two different stints with the team. He also spent time with the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks during his 18 seasons in the league.

His career ends after wrapping up his second tour of duty with the Thunder. He was nothing more than a role player in recent years, playing less than 20 minutes per game in each of the past two seasons, but he served as a solid backup and valuable leader. 

Although he has no head-coaching experience, the latter of those traits suggests he should thrive in his new role. As Frank Isola of the New York Daily News pointed out, this is a move that makes a lot of sense for James Dolan and Phil Jackson:

Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks recently praised Fisher for his long-term success, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News noted:

Those comments are backed up by the fact that no player in NBA history has appeared in more playoff games than Fisher.

Part of the reason he was able to have so much success was his willingness to play a complementary role to bigger stars. Whether it was Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal or more recently Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Fisher was content to be a sidekick with a veteran presence in the locker room.

In turn, his numbers don't stand out nearly as much as his five championship rings.

He averaged eight points to go along with three assists, two rebounds and more than a steal per game for his career. His most notable stat was probably his 37-percent shooting from beyond the arc, and he had a knack for hitting big shots.

There were some seasons with the Lakers where he took on more responsibility, but much of what he provided over the years could not be quantified on the stat sheet.

Because of those intangibles and Fisher's innate willingness to be a leader—and more recently, a teacher—it was always assumed he would make the jump to coaching. 

Sam Amick of USA Today provided Fisher's response when he was recently asked about potentially making that transition once the Thunder's playoff run came to an end:

I literally have not given any thought. 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.

Those comments didn't temper the Knicks' interest. Wojnarowski reported a couple of days ago that Jackson had been talking with Fisher and the job was an intriguing option for him:

The Knicks' support system, centered on Jackson, is an attractive part of the job to Fisher. For all the allure of New York and Madison Square Garden, Fisher played parts of his 13 seasons with the Lakers, winning five championships under Jackson.

Fisher is an ideal coach. He knows how to lead and understands how to handle big stars when it comes to keeping egos in check for the betterment of the team. His tenure as president of the NBA Players Association from 2006-13, during which time he helped resolve the 2011 lockout, also speaks to this trait.

That will be key to coaching a team deep into the postseason.

Still, it will be interesting to see how he handles the messy New York situation. Carmelo Anthony's future with the team is unclear, and the Knicks, fresh off a 37-45 season, are set for a major rebuild without a pick in this year's draft. 

Fisher never backed down from a challenge during his playing career, though, and he seems ready for his newest obstacle.