Derek Fisher undecided on plans
"It's not that many hours since postgame at this point," Fisher said during the team's exit interviews. "I'm still struggling with the results of last night. I haven't got a chance to talk to my wife and kind of step back emotionally from the end of the season. That's important to do, so that whatever is next, there has to be a separation from the end of the season and what just happened and then I can go from there."
With coaching vacancies on the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, Fisher might have opportunities with either team, especially considering his connection to each. He played for the Lakers for 13 seasons, most of them under Phil Jackson, who is now president of the Knicks.
"There's for sure huge layers added to [the decision]," Fisher said. "The personal relationship and professional relationship that I've had with Phil Jackson over the years, and being in the position that he's in. And also, with the Lakers having an opening, it for sure adds layers to it. But like other important decisions in life, I don't think you can be driven by what's going on externally. You have to have an internal set of boundaries and just kind of a compass that you make decisions by. I'll combine all those things as I try and make the best decision possible."
On Friday, Jackson said Fisher is "a person that's on my list of guys that could be very good candidate for this job."
In the closing moments of Game 6, in which the Thunder were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs, Fisher took extra time to exit the floor, later saying he wanted to understand and appreciate the moment, knowing it could be his last on the floor in his 18-year career. After signing a one-year deal last July, Fisher announced via Instagram that this would be his final season, but has since wavered a bit, seeming to consider a return.
"If you watched the game last night, you know my heart is definitely still in it," he said. "But I'm also realistic about knowing I can't do this forever, even if I'm physically capable of still going it."
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Fisher, 39, played 33 minutes Saturday night for the Thunder, including virtually the entire fourth quarter and overtime. But he said Sunday he's fully aware that he needs an exit strategy, something he's been thinking of for a while.
"For years, I've obviously thought about one day I won't be able to play, and there will be a next," he said. "There will be something next. And maybe that time is here."
Fisher said he's undecided about what that next thing might be, but confirmed that coaching intrigues him.
"In the last maybe decade or so, I've really felt like my purpose in life, my calling so to speak, was to be in a leadership position or some position of impact on other people," he said. "Coaching allows for you to positively impact other people's lives. To help a group of people find success, whether they have or haven't before, you're all working together for a common goal ... There's a love for helping other people that exists for me, and not playing anymore, if that's what it's to be, coaching or being in the front office, or being in a role where you can positively impact others and work to reach a common goal, that's exciting to me."
Fisher has a familiarity with Los Angeles, which could factor into his decision, but said he's plenty fond of New York despite a rocky start there.
"It grew on me. It's a great city. One of the greatest cities in the world," he said of New York. "Pretty big. I'm from Little Rock (Arkansas). The first time I went to New York as a rookie, I locked myself in the hotel room because I was afraid of what might happen to me."
Fisher, who wore No. 6 with the Thunder as motivation to win a sixth NBA championship, spoke for 20 minutes during his exit interview, despite only being asked eight questions. He was very appreciative of the Thunder organization, but expressed regret in not being able to potentially finish off his career with another title.
"If this is it for me, that will be the saddest part," he said. "One day this team is going to have a championship trophy. And if I'm there, great. If I'm not, I'm going to be just as happy because they all deserve it."
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