By Jason Schott - Associate Editor - @JESchott19
Derek Fisher, who played his last game for the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, May 31st, accepted the Knicks' offer of 5 years and $25 million to become their head coach.
Phil Jackson, Knicks President, sought out Fisher after losing out on Steve Kerr nearly a month ago. Jackson even had to play a tampering fine of $25,000 for telling the media on May 30th of his intention to talk to Fisher when the Thunder's season was over.
Jackson wants someone that will implement the triangle offense that he used to perfection with the Chicago Bulls, with Kerr a key part of that time and with the Los Angeles Lakers, where Fisher was instrumental.
The thing that is disconcerting about how Jackson conducted this coaching search was that there is no evidence he looked at candidates that may run a different offense. Mark Jackson, a New York native who played for St. John's and the Knicks and had a nice three-year run as coach of the Warriors, was not considered at all. Lionel Hollins, who took Memphis to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, was not considered either.
Fisher and Kobe Bryant were the only two players to win all five championships in Los Angeles with Jackson, with the first three coming from 2000 to 2002 and the next two coming in 2009 and 2010.
Fisher played 18 seasons in the NBA, 13 of which were for the Lakers. He started his career with the Lakers from 1996 through 2004. He left after the 2004 season in which the Lakers lost to the Pistons and they cleaned house, as Jackson retired and Shaquille O'Neal was traded. Fisher went to Golden State for a couple of seasons.
Fisher spent the 2006-2007 season with the Utah Jazz, and they made a run to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to San Antonio (so that run wasn't all because of Deron Williams after all). He returned to the Lakers for the 2007-08 season, and they returned to The Finals where they lost to the Celtics. They won it all the next two years, over the Magic and Celtics. Fisher remained with the Lakers until halfway through the 2012 season, when he was traded to the Thunder and they made it to The Finals. In the 2012-13 season, he started with the Dallas Mavericks, where he played just nine games before returning to Oklahoma City, where he played the rest of that season and returned for the 2013-14 campaign.
This also follows the pattern that the Brooklyn Nets established last year with the hiring of Jason Kidd, who they made their head coach around this time last year, just three weeks after he played his last game with the Knicks. Kidd did a great job considering what he had to deal with. He had an aging roster and many injuries that he had to adjust for, especially losing center Brook Lopez for the season in November. Kidd installed a new, smaller lineup from that point on and the Nets were one of the best teams in the NBA in the second half of the season. They won 43 games despite starting 10-21 and won their first round series with Toronto before losing to Miami in the second round.
The Knicks will make it official when they introduce Fisher at a press conference on Tuesday morning at their practice facility in Greenburgh, NY.
Comment: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org