Knicks Bring on Derek Fisher as Head Coach
For the second year in a row, a New York-based NBA team has hired a former player with no coaching experience to take over as head coach. Phil Jackson made the call on Monday evening, hiring former Los Angeles Lakers pupil Derek Fisher as the new head coach of the New York Knicks.
Jackson had been rumored to be heavily interested in landing a long-term coach that could implement his coaching philosophy – namely the Triangle offense he made so popular during his NBA coaching career.
Fisher wasn’t the only legit candidate, as Jackson was spurned by former Chicago Bulls guard Steve Kerr earlier in the recruiting process. Kerr had been rumored to have made a verbal commitment, but passed on the Knicks coaching job the same position with the Golden State Warriors. Like Fisher, Kerr also had zero previous head coaching experience.
There were other candidates taken seriously throughout the process besides Kerr and Fisher, as Jackson considered the likes of Kurt Rambis and Mark Jackson, and also discussed a potential role with Rick Fox and Luke Walton, among others.
Ultimately, Jackson landed on Fisher, who recently wrapped up what looks to be his final NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Fisher has reportedly been signed on for $25 million over the next five years, essentially making more money per season than he did during the majority of his 18-year NBA career. In fact, for 14 of his 18 NBA seasons, Fisher made less than $5 million per season.
Fisher is expected to be joined by several of the other candidates, as Rambis and former Chicago Bulls player Bill Cartwright are expected to latch on as assistant coaches and Fox and Walton are also expected to be in the mix on the staff at some level.
At 39, Fisher is a young head coach even beyond the lack of true coaching experience, but has arguably operated as a “coach on the court” for much of his NBA career. It could arguably be a fairly smooth transition, especially considering Fisher’s leadership with the NBA Players Association. It’s anyone’s guess if Fisher will become on of the league’s next great coaches, but with Jackson guiding him, it looks like a sound move by the Knicks organization.
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