Oklahoma City Thunder's Game 6 loss in the Western Conference Finals might have been Derek Fisher's last game in the NBA. Until he officially retires, though, he's still off limits for front offices looking for potential head coaches.
On Monday, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that New York Knicks president Phil Jackson has been fined $25,000 for saying the Thunder guard could be a candidate for the Knicks' head-coaching vacancy:
ESPN has learned that Knicks president Phil Jackson has been fined $25,000 for tampering with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 2, 2014
Fine stems from comments Jackson made at press conference last week about possibly hiring Fisher to coach the Knicks— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 2, 2014
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the fine, per USA Today's Sam Amick:
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirms ESPN report that Knicks fined $25,000 for president Phil Jackson's comments about OKC guard Derek Fisher.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 2, 2014
NBA.com also made things official:
Knicks President Phil Jackson has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for a tampering violation involving veteran guard Derek Fisher.
Jackson told reporters last week that Fisher is "on my list of guys that could be very good candidates" to coach the Knicks next season. Because Fisher is under contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, that was deemed to be in violation of league rules.
On Saturday, New York's new president went on record discussing Fisher's chances of coming to the Knicks.
He labeled the 39-year-old as "a person that's on my list of guys that could be very good candidates for this job," per ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley.
"He's got family in L.A. He's got little kids still in L.A. I have no idea if he wants to move his family and come here," Jackson added. "Those are things that he would have to express. There are so many unknowns."
After the San Antonio Spurs bounced the Thunder from the playoffs, Fisher discussed making himself a candidate for the Knicks, per ESPN.com's Royce Young:
There's for sure huge layers added to [the decision]. 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.
Fisher added that he hasn't been in contact with any teams about potential coaching jobs, per Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears:
Fisher says he hasn't had any direct contact with Phil Jackson or any other NBA executives in terms of coaching jobs.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 1, 2014
There's no question that if Fisher makes himself available, he'll have a long line of potential suitors. Many have pegged him as a future head coach for years. He's a five-time NBA champion, and from 2006 to 2013 he served as the president of the players union.
A retired player immediately jumping to coaching isn't unheard of either.
Jason Kidd didn't waste any time in transitioning from a player to a head coach. While he had some early trouble with the Brooklyn Nets, he eventually found his footing on the sidelines this past season in his first year coaching.
Fisher's retirement will likely come in a matter of time. But as long as he's officially a Thunder player, he remains untouchable for Jackson and other front-office personnel.