Phil Jackson Derek Fisher

Report: Phil Jackson spoke with Derek Fisher about Knicks coaching job Wednesday


The answer is “Wednesday.”

We knew that Phil Jackson was going to talk to Derek Fisher about joining him in New York, about becoming the next head coach of the New York Knicks, about helping turn the culture of that franchise around. The only question was when.

That conversation started last Wednesday and will continue next week, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and his top coaching candidate, Derek Fisher, talked briefly on the telephone Wednesday and plan to reconvene next week, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Jackson expressed his desire to engage Fisher in talks to become the Knicks coach, sources said. Fisher is expected to take the weekend to talk with his family and make a final decision about retiring from his 17-year NBA career in order to fully pursue coaching, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The ball is really in Fisher’s court here, Jackson is not flush with other options he loves. Jackson wants one of his guys, someone he has worked with and trusts, and there are just a handful of those guys. Brian Shaw already has a gig and Steve Kerr chose Stephen Curry and the West Coast over Jackson (Kerr also chose $25 million).

Fisher has to decide if this is what he wants to do. At his exit interview after the Thunder were eliminated he sounded like a guy ready to move on, ready to take on a new challenge, but it’s not a decision he can or should make lightly.

Jackson was fined $25,000 for tampering by the league for mentioning Fisher while the Thunder were still playing. There were some “he’s got a lot to learn as a GM” comments coming out of New York after that — if you think Jackson says things on accident or not knowing the consequences, you haven’t followed the man’s career. He is calculated. He’s been fined before, he know the rules and he knows what tampering is. He also couldn’t reach out to Fisher yet but may have wanted to plant a seed, send a little message. Jackson may not always get what he wants (Kerr) or have things turn out as planned, but you can bet they are calculated moves before he makes them.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.