Derek Fisher's Knicks to-do list

June, 9, 2014
6/09/14
5:47
PM ET
Derek Fisher has agreed to coach the New York Knicks.

Now comes the hard part.

Fisher inherits a roster that underachieved last season, winning just 37 games and missing the playoffs. Its best player, Carmelo Anthony, plans to test free agency this summer, and there isn’t much salary-cap flexibility to help reshape things for next season. So Fisher has his work cut out for him.

Below, we take a look at five items on Fisher’s agenda:

[+] EnlargeDerek Fisher, Carmelo Anthony
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerek Fisher and Carmelo Anthony, once upon a time. Will they join forces in New York, or will Anthony head elsewhere?
1. Meet with Melo: With Fisher in place, all eyes now turn to Anthony and free agency. Fisher’s presence adds another layer to Anthony’s big decision this summer.

Fisher is well-respected in locker rooms throughout the NBA, so it’s fair to assume Anthony would welcome playing for the five-time NBA champion.

If Anthony likes the hire, it gives the star forward another reason to re-sign with the Knicks. If not, this may push Anthony toward signing with a team closer to championship contention, such as Chicago or Houston.

Anthony can sign a maximum five-year, $129 million deal with the Knicks. With another team, Anthony can ink a maximum four-year, $96 million deal.

2. Study up: Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd have showed that first-year coaches can have immediate success on the bench. Knicks fans will expect the same from Fisher.

Fisher will have the luxury of leaning on team president Phil Jackson for advice. But coaching in Jackson’s shadow may pose a challenge, as well. You can be sure that segments of the Knicks' fan base will be pining for Jackson to take over on the bench during Fisher’s first extended losing streak.

But Fisher should be well-aware of this possibility. And, by all accounts, the 39-year-old has the temperament to deal with the heat.

He also has a résumé that is sure to earn him respect in the Knicks' locker room. In addition to winning five titles under Jackson in Los Angeles, Fisher has played in an NBA-record 259 playoff games and won an NBA-record 161.

3. Hire a staff: Jackson decided to fire Mike Woodson’s entire coaching staff shortly after the regular season, so he and Fisher have several hires to make to fill out the coaching staff.

Bill Cartwright has already interviewed with Jackson for a spot on the bench. Others in the mix for assistant jobs include former Lakers forward Luke Walton, ex-Lakers assistant coaches Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons, ex-Bulls guard Ron Harper and 18-year NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse.

Fisher’s staff is expected to be filled with veteran coaches who have a strong knowledge of the triangle offense.

4. Consider personnel moves: Fisher is close with Jackson, so it’s fair to assume his opinions about current players and potential free-agent targets will be a factor in the Knicks’ personnel decisions.

It will be interesting to see how Fisher’s take on veterans with expiring contracts -- such as Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani -- impacts the Knicks’ handling of those players.

Fisher played in Los Angeles with Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown. We'll see how Fisher impacts Odom. The Knicks have inked Odom to an unguaranteed deal for the 2014-15 season and will decide before the regular season whether to exercise that option or cut/trade him.

5. Start scouting: The Knicks don’t own a pick in this year's draft. They traded their first-round pick to Denver in the Anthony trade and dealt their second-round pick to Houston in the Marcus Camby trade.

But Jackson said recently that the Knicks may look to acquire a pick. If so, one of Fisher’s first tasks will be to familiarize himself with draft-eligible players, in addition to studying the Knicks' roster.

New York has already held workouts for Florida big man Patric Young and guard Scottie Wilbekin, and has hosted ex-North Carolina star P.J. Hairston, among others.

Fisher will likely be involved in any future Knicks workouts, giving him an opportunity to get a feel for any potential draft picks and to discuss Jackson’s triangle offense with players.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.2 3.1 1.0 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 6.6
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.7
StealsS. Larkin 1.2
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3