Where Do the Knicks Turn if Derek Fisher Says No?

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

If the San Antonio Spurs can finally figure out how to win in Oklahoma City, Derek Fisher’s season could end as soon as Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

If the Thunder continue to dominate at home, that series would end Monday night with Game 7 in San Antonio — and Fisher could be done for the season, and for his career.

At that point, Phil Jackson would be free to speak with Fisher about the Knicks’ coaching vacancy. But what if Fisher — like Steve Kerr before him — spurns the Knicks in order to stay close to his home on the West Coast?

“He’s got family in L.A,” Jackson told reporters of Fisher on Friday. “He’s got little kids still in L.A. I have no idea if he wants to move his family and come here. Those are things that he would have to express. There are so many unknowns and I’m not talking to him [now]. But he definitely is a person that’s on my list of guys that could be very good candidates for this job.”

Fisher, a five-time NBA champion who played for Jackson with the Lakers, appears to be the Zen Master’s No. 1 choice at this point, but Kerr was Jackson’s No. 1 choice for several weeks and look how that turned out.

Jackson revealed Friday that he and Kerr had an agreement for Kerr to coach the Knicks, but that Kerr opted out after the Golden State Warriors job came open.

“Unfortunately for him, he committed to me the day before the job opened with Golden State,” Jackson said. “So I had to kind of release him to actually go to [the Warriors] job and say, ‘You have to do what’s right for yourself. I understood entirely the process he was going through to have that job open up.”

The Lakers are also reportedly interested in speaking with Fisher about their coaching vacancy, so it’s at least theoretically possible that Fisher, like Kerr, could spurn the Knicks if a West Coast job came calling.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw appears to be out of the picture, and Jackson took an interesting little dig at Knicks owner James Dolan by saying that he didn’t want to give Denver anything more in exchange for Shaw after all they surrendered in the Anthony deal.

“Denver has everything that we owned for the last few years so there’s nothing else I want to give them,” Jackson cracked.

That would seem to leave Fisher as the top option.

Asked what he likes about Fisher, Jackson said, “Why don’t you read my book. And you’ll see in my book, it’s in there. He was a lead guard and lead guards have a vision a lot of the times.”

Should the Knicks swing and miss on Fisher, Jackson could opt for someone like Bill Cartwright or Tyronn Lue, former players that come from his circle.

While Mark Jackson might be the choice of some Knicks fans, he doesn’t come from Jackson’s inner circle.

“I have a big circle,” Jackson said. “I’d like to have a prior relationship with a coach so that we know that we’ve gone through some kind of issues together. We’ve dealt with some kind of battle situations. We’ve had conflicts, we’ve had disagresements and we know how to work tihngs out. Those, I think, are part and parcel I think to having a relationship with people that can work together that can still disagree and come to terms.”

Still, Jackson also mentioned that he would consider a college coach, leaving open the possibility that he might pursue a John Calipari, a Billy Donovan or a Tom Izzo. Florida’s Donovan, winner of two NCAA titles, recently said he’s intrigued by the possibility of coaching in the NBA.

“There’s some college guys I’m even interested in,” he said. “I shouldn’t even say even, but I’m interested in could come in and do this and have experience. So it’s not limited in that way.”

Of course, if the Knicks strike out on Fisher, the pressure will go even stronger for Jackson himself to coach the team, something he ruled out, but only after a long pause when answering the question.

“I’m going to be interested in coaching,” he said. “It’s whether I can do it or not, and I have to understand my physical capabilities. And at this point, I don’t see how — unless the Lord heals me in the next week or two, I wouldn’t see myself being physically prepared to take on the grind of coaching a basketball team right now.”


Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for NBA.com and SNY.tv. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.




573 comments
theking
theking

the league really tried hard to give that game to okc last night. that goaltending that wasn't called could have changed the whole game ... Durant has a good supporting cast and the refs on the payroll and still cant get it done.

BiggieTKB
BiggieTKB

Spurs in Seven... Come ON NBA!!!   Give me some good ball!!  the last two rounds have been sub par.

MeloStat301
MeloStat301

So...KD the MVP...Westbrook one of the top PG in the league...Ibaka one of the best defenders in the league...Reggie Jackson on of the best bench players in the league...still can't get over the hump. Maybe KD needs some more help....

Seriously though...OKC needs some more savvy vets if they want to win. All those scrubs they draft and keep around trade them for some vets that can contribute. For example...heat have Battier..Allen...mike miller last year...spurs have ginobli..diaw..patty mills..ect. Experience goes a long say...Caron butler...d fisher ain't cutting it.

SheSaidSpikeWho
SheSaidSpikeWho

Ben Bolch @latbbolch

Derek Fisher said he would wait a few days "and then I’ll go from there pretty quickly" as far as his future.


Chris Herring @HerringWSJ

Like Kerr, Fisher has ties to West Coast-tm w/ a coaching vacancy. And Fisher's family, like Kerr's is based on West Coast.


Marvel
Marvel

If I was westbrook I'd ask for a trade, guys really don't respect what he does. Smh

HypoCrit_calNYKfans
HypoCrit_calNYKfans

OKC's Presti must know now that going to the final with the team he has, which include two top five players is not happening. What Presti need to do now is to try to get Gasol from the Lakers in a sign and trade offering the Lakers Perkins, Jackson and a couple of #1s and offer Gasol about 40 mil. over four years and move him to the 5. They need someone like Gasol a center who can do more than just run up and down the court! The only other options would be to jettison Westbrook or Brooks both foolish moves IMO!

jax13
jax13

Funny, looking at Kerr. He is surrounded by extreme knick haters

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

The Spurs demonstrate the power of a well run system on both offense and defense.

theking
theking

So if Durant is the "best player" and Westbrook is the "best point guard" please tell us more on how they lost @akamarb TKB

SheSaidSpikeWho
SheSaidSpikeWho

First time the spurs have gone to back to back finals...crazy.

barnaby87
barnaby87

If only we had assets to focus on acquiring Westbrook...

BigChiefTriangle
BigChiefTriangle

@SheSaidSpikeWho

I dunno why; I just can't picture Derek Fisher as Knicks head coach.  

And I think Herring's comments are important...I wouldn't even be shocked if he took an asst. job with LA over cleaning up the mess in NY.

BigChiefTriangle
BigChiefTriangle

@HypoCrit_calNYKfans

That is a nifty idea...Gasol is slowing down but put him next to Ibaka and that front court duo complements each other well.  Pau is also an excellent passer who will allow Westbrook and KD to still get their touches.

brookdon
brookdon

Durant gets too passive at times.

jax13
jax13

Does Kerr understand that coaching in golden state, he may be on national tv once or twice?

brookdon
brookdon

If Westbrook couldn't win with Durant, he won't with Melo. Not to mention KD is a nice guy, Carmelo would strangle Russell

HypoCrit_calNYKfans
HypoCrit_calNYKfans

@jeandd323 

That would be yours and my wish, but unfortunately I don't see Gasol accepting the meager offerings that the Knicks could toss his way. It would have to be a sign and trade, maybe for Bargnani. Though I'm not say that I don't like Bargnani!

jax13
jax13

If he asks miller about coaching in ny, wit do u think he tells him?

NoVaCaInE
NoVaCaInE

How many of those does GS have?

theking
theking

Imagine if that was against the Knicks melo would be ran out of time

HypoCrit_calNYKfans
HypoCrit_calNYKfans

@carl hill 

Reggie Jackson think he's better than he is. In that regard he reminds me of Darren Collison, they both look for their own shot way to much. I would pass on both of them!

barnaby87
barnaby87

@carl hill @barnaby87 True, but I think Westbrook would go before Reggie would personally.  I can see them shipping Westbrook in the off-season.

barnaby87
barnaby87

@brookdon You can't say that if one guy doesn't work with someone, he won't work with someone else.  

HypoCrit_calNYKfans
HypoCrit_calNYKfans

@BigChiefTriangle 

Because OKC NEED Gasol to get back to the finals the cost would be around 10 mil. for Gasol to accept that sign and trade. Also I for one do not value Jackson as highly as some of you other Cats. This would be a fair trade for both teams, maybe the Lakers could included Marshall to back up Westbrook.

theking
theking

@HypoCrit_calNYKfans @knowledge  think you said it backwards ... melo is the better scorer Durant is the better shooter. melo can score anywhere on the court Durant can too he just cant post which makes him more of a shooter

brookdon
brookdon

I think Westbrook is too much of a batman type to work with Carmelo. He couldn't adjust to KD, could he to Melo?

jax13
jax13

Miller does a good job on TV but I'm sure does not have anything good to say about ny

theking
theking

Guess neither do Durant Westbrook or George :)

HypoCrit_calNYKfans
HypoCrit_calNYKfans

@carl hill

You should have stop drinking a couple of hours ago cause not only are you talking nonsense there's a slur in your typing. Rickie Rubio perhaps is a better shooter than he was when he came into the NBA but Rubio still is a weak jump shooter. I'm not saying that Jackson is not an adequate pg, all I'm saying is that he is not a play making pg who look to ASSIST his teammates at scoring most of the time!


theking
theking

Melo ain't takin a backseat to Westbrook ... He would have to take the backseat. Plus rondo or kyrie will do for pg for melo