Derek Fisher probably hasn't even toured his new office in Madison Square Garden yet, and Amar'e Stoudemire has already figured out what he wants from his new head coach.
As reported by ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley, the long-time point guard is now on board with a five-year deal for $25 million. And he's going to have his work cut out for him, as the New York Knicks were a complete disaster during the 2013-14 campaign, making headlines more often for ridiculous reasons than because they were winning games.
That certainly has to factor into STAT's desire for discipline, per Newsday.com's Will Sammon:
"For the young players who are not as professional as they should be, I will look for him to put his foot down and really be firm about his teaching strategy and even for veteran players who don't want to buy into it, you got to put your foot down."
Hmm...I wonder whom he could possibly be talking about.
Could it be a certain player who began the year on a drug suspension, one that prevented him from making his season debut until the Knicks were already in a 2-3 hole for the season? How about a guy who forgot about the situation and took an ill-advised three-pointer with the clock winding down against the Houston Rockets, then watched as his team ended up losing as a direct result?
What if it was a guy who was fined for multiple stunts involving the untying of shoelaces during free-throw attempts? Could it be a player who was fined for directing hostile language on Twitter toward Brandon Jennings?
Maybe the guy about whom Bleacher Report's Dan Favale wrote, "Tension between the drama-attracted shooting guard and Knicks organization has reached a breaking point, spurring trade rumors that have been a long time coming."
Oh wait. Those are all the same player—J.R. Smith, who's under contract for just under $6 million during the 2014-15 season.
It feels safe to assume that Stoudemire was talking about Smith without directly calling him out, but there are certainly other players he could target. Just think about how amazing it is that Smith comes to mind before Raymond Felton, even though the quickly declining point guard actually made headlines for gun charges during the middle of the season.
Almost the entire roster was plagued by in-fighting and a distinct lack of discipline on and off the court last year, which is a major part of what led to such an embarrassing appearance in the lottery (without even getting to hold onto the pick).
Fortunately, STAT has confidence in Fisher, at least partially because Phil Jackson is pulling the puppet strings from behind the curtains of the front office.
"I think with Phil having his back, that gives him more of a role of sort of being a disciplinarian," explained the veteran power forward. "Whatever Phil thinks works, I'm all with them and on board with it. Phil has a pedigree of winning and if he feels that's what's needed to win then I'm down for it."
Though it's tough to have faith in the disciplinary skills of a first-year head coach only days removed from playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Fisher is no ordinary player-turned-coach. He can just flash his five championship rings, show off with stories about 11 appearances in the conference finals or talk about his abundance of experience in the NBA.
"I think I'll have Derek wear all five of his rings the first time he comes in and talks to Carmelo," the Zen Master told ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk after the hiring was made official.
If he's going to serve as a disciplinarian, he might want to wear them at all times. Anything to command as much respect as possible, right?
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