Phil Jackson Fined $25,000 for Tampering with Derek Fisher

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2014

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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:

NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the fine, per USA Today's Sam Amick: 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'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."

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 19:  Derek Fisher #6 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on in the first half while taking on the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 19, 2014 in San Antoni
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After the San Antonio Spurs bounced the Thunder from the playoffs, Fisher discussed making himself a candidate for the Knicks, per'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:

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.