Monday, May 19, 2014
Fisher: Let's talk Knicks gig after playoffs
By Ian Begley
Phil Jackson and and Derek Fisher will have much to discuss after the playoffs end.
Derek Fisher is flattered that his name has been mentioned as a candidate for the New York Knicks’ coaching vacancy. But he said on Monday that he’s focused on the playoffs, not next season.
With the Oklahoma City Thunder preparing for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday, Fisher was asked about the Knicks job.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported Sunday that Knicks president Phil Jackson is in no rush to hire a head coach until he can sit down and talk to Fisher about the opening.
“It’s not a distraction," Fisher said at the Thunder’s morning shootaround at Texas Military Institute in San Antonio. “It’s humbling. It’s humbling, it’s flattering. Phil knows better than anybody this time of year, there’s a singular focus you have to have. That’s what I’m trying to do for myself and the team. Regardless of what it is, I’m not concerned about it until after these playoffs are done."
Jackson’s top priority is to find a young coach who he can mentor, similar to the way Pat Riley mentored Erik Spoelstra in Miami, sources told Stein and Shelburne. And he’d prefer to hire a coach who has a strong knowledge of the triangle offense.
Fisher, 39, fits both descriptions well. He was a key piece on Jackson’s teams in Los Angeles that won five NBA titles. So he has a strong grasp of the triangle offense. It’s unclear at this point if he would like to coach or not.
“It’s tough to wrap my mind about anything other than basketball," Fisher said. “Every week or two it could be my last week. That part in itself is tough enough. Until I’m done helping my team this year, I’m not spending a lot of time on it."
Fisher said he hasn’t spoken to Jackson about the opening and doesn’t foresee speaking with the Zen Master until the end of the Thunder’s season.
"We talk every offseason. I'm sure we'll talk again when the season is over, but I don't have any intentions on reaching out to him and I think he respects the space that I'm in as well,” Fisher said. "We touched base right before his official press conference when he accepted the job. Since then we haven’t spoken. Obviously, [Jackson] is busy in terms of trying to make the changes he needs to make there, but I have a day job as well and I think he respects that more than anybody. He taught me a lot about how to operate during this time of year."
Fisher isn’t the only candidate Jackson is considering, according to Stein and Shelburne's report. But he has emerged as the leading candidate following Steve Kerr’s decision to take the Golden State job instead of coming to New York.