New York Knicks

Report: Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher Have Already Discussed NY Knicks Job

Mar 6, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher (6) against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

Well, that was predictably quick.

Derek Fisher is less than one week removed from his last NBA game, but the 39-year-old has reportedly already spoken with team president Phil Jackson about the New York Knicks' head coaching vacancy.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports shared the details of that discussion and what's coming next:

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and his top coaching candidate, Derek Fisher, talked briefly on the telephone Wednesday and plan to reconvene next week, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Jackson expressed his desire to engage Fisher in talks to become the Knicks coach, sources said. Fisher is expected to take the weekend to talk with his family and make a final decision about retiring from his 17-year NBA career in order to fully pursue coaching, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Fisher has been leaning strongly toward ending his playing career, and should that be his final decision, he's expected to move forward with more substantive talks with Jackson next week, sources said.

The Knicks relieved Mike Woodson of his coaching duties on April 21 and have been searching for a suitable replacement ever since. Steve Kerr was the early leader in this race, but he literally took the money ($25 million) and ran to the Golden State Warriors.

Jackson has been in something of a scramble since missing out on Kerr, but Fisher has long appeared at or near the top of the Zen Master's wish list. The pair won five championships together with the Los Angeles Lakers, while Fisher learned all of the nuances of the triangle offense Jackson ran during his coaching days.

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: Head Coach Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after defeating the Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 17, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO US
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Jackson even said Fisher was "on my list of guys" while the latter was still running point for the Oklahoma City Thunder, via Newsday's Al Iannazzone, comments that earned the former a $25,000 fine for tampering.

The Knicks, however, aren't the only team eyeing Fisher as a possible head coach. A source told USA Today's Sam Amick that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak "likely would have a phone conversation with Fisher sometime soon."

While Fisher has deep ties to his former team, there are reasons to believe the chance to learn the profession under an iconic figure like Jackson could lure him to the Big Apple.

Teams might want Fisher, but the question is whether he wants a coaching career already. If he does, he seems to have several available to him.

"The ball is really in Fisher’s court here, Jackson is not flush with other options he loves," NBC Sports' Kurt Helin wrote. "...Fisher has to decide if this is what he wants to do."

Fisher is the "wanted" part of this equation. That's a great position to be in for any negotiation.

But do the right teams want him? Obviously, he has connections in both New York and L.A. Each situation presents its own uncertainty, though, with Carmelo Anthony's potential venture into free agency and Kobe Bryant's battle with Father Time.

Could Fisher decide either one is worth the gamble? Absolutely. These are destination franchises even on their worst days.

But Fisher has to figure out what's best for him, his carer and his family. That decision may take a far longer time to reach than the ones that have apparently launched him up the lists of (potentially) available coaches.

 

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