Sources told ESPN.com that Jackson is planning to connect with Fisher by week's end after giving the Oklahoma City Thunder guard some time to decompress after his team was eliminated Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.
The league dinged Jackson a cool $25,000, per Stein, for openly discussing Fisher as a candidate while the guard was still an active member of the Thunder. That's tampering, folks, and the NBA was decidedly not cool with it.
Now that OKC has been eliminated from postseason play, Fisher is fair game.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News weighed in on the topic with B/R's Adam Lefkoe:
This is only a meeting between Jackson and Fisher, though. And while it might seem like the Zen Master's persuasive skills would be impossible to resist, let's all remember how Steve Kerr shunned Jackson and the Knicks for greener (bluer and golder?) pastures with the Golden State Warriors.
Plus, Fisher's got a lot on his mind—not the least of which is the job opening with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Per Stein and Shelburne, he said:
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. But like other important decisions in life, I don't think you can be driven by what's going on externally. You have to have an internal set of boundaries and just kind of a compass that you make decisions by. I'll combine all those things as I try and make the best decision possible.
If it feels strange that a wholly untested candidate like Fisher is a hot commodity on both coasts, get used to it—this is the new model for head coaches in the NBA.
Jason Kidd has had success with the Brooklyn Nets. Before him, Mark Jackson did well with the Warriors.
So if you're a veteran point guard in the NBA (or the courtside announcer's table), get ready: You'll probably soon be receiving a call from some franchise looking to hand you the reins.
Fisher is widely respected throughout the league as a player with a reputation for professionalism and terrific citizenship. He's the kind of guy many expected would enter coaching at some point. In days gone by he would have had to cut his teeth as an assistant for a few years.
In choosing between New York and Los Angeles (if, in fact, Fisher gets offers from both), he'll have to consider the difficulties of each locale.
The Knicks' messy cap situation means they'll have at least one solid year of rebuilding before the foundation for a winning franchise can be laid. And there's still the uncertainty surrounding Carmelo Anthony's future as a free agent—if he exercises his early termination option.
The Lakers may be in for a similar waiting period. Kobe Bryant's contract and the rampant uncertainty surrounding the rest of the roster (just three players have guaranteed contracts for next season) make it hard to envision anything but another lottery trip in 2014-15.
Still, Fisher is in a good spot. He has two high-profile options in front of him and a whole summer to be wooed.
Retirement sounds pretty good.