Now that Steve Kerr is no longer a possibility to take over the head coaching job with the Knicks, it’s widely believed that president of basketball operations Phil Jackson will look to bring in someone else with whom he similarly has an existing relationship.
Derek Fisher fits the bill, obviously, having played for Jackson during some championship seasons with the Lakers, and his name was mentioned as one that could be a frontrunner for the open position.
Fisher is still playing with the Oklahoma City Thunder, however, and hasn’t yet ruled out a return to the court next season. Still, his current head coach sees Fisher’s potential future fit with the Knicks as a logical one.
“Derek will make a great head coach,” Brooks told the Daily News on Saturday. “He’s smart, he knows the game and works hard. He’s also played for one of the greatest coaches in sports history . . . and I’m not talking about myself, by the way.” …
A person familiar with Phil Jackson’s thinking insists the new Knicks president will hire someone he’s either coached or worked with. According to Brooks, Fisher has not mentioned the possibility of coaching next season. In fact, Brooks claims that Fisher has not entirely closed the door on playing next season. …
“I think it would make a lot of sense for Derek to coach in New York. But there’s no rush. If they wait a few more weeks they can talk to him. I don’t think Phil would talk to him now anyway because Phil has too much respect for the game and Derek. He knows how hard it is to accomplish what we’re trying to do here. But I hope they do speak at some point.”
Fisher has always been a respected locker room leader among his teammates, and much like Jason Kidd, would likely have little trouble making the quick transformation from player to head coach.
But the most important quality he possesses, at least in terms of the potential job with the Knicks, is his prior relationship with Jackson. That more than anything is a prerequisite, it seems, to being considered for the available position.