After waiting for Steve Kerr to coach the Knicks only to see the Warriors poach him, Jackson faces less competition for his backup candidate.
Derek Fisher – once believed to be a Kobe Bryant-approved choice for the Lakers – is out of the running in Los Angeles.
The Lakers have decided they need a coach with previous NBA coaching experience, which means one thing for Derek Fisher: He isn’t a candidate.
I’ll admit, as a lover of chaos, I wanted to see Jackson wait all this time and then strike out with Fisher like he did with Kerr. Then what would the Knicks do? There seemed to be no plan B after Kerr, and now there might be no plan C after Fisher.
Fisher hasn’t announced his retirement from playing, so there’s still a chance he spurns Jackson for another contract with the Thunder or other team.
Or he could simply choose to do something other than playing or coaching the Knicks next year. Though he was confident in his ability to coach Kobe, Fisher might not rush to oversee J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton.
As for the Lakers, their decision eliminates pure college coaches – though the two they’ve been linked to have already essentially recused themselves from the search. North Carolina’s Roy Williams denied interest, and Kentucky’s John Calipari just signed a monster contract extension.
The Lakers have interviewed five veteran coaches, and though their search could still expand, predicting their next coach should probably start with this list:
NBA head-coaching experience is important, and candidates with it should receive credit for it. But I don’t understand why Rambis going 56-145 in Minnesota gets his foot in the door when so many other potentially worthy candidates are shut out by the line the Lakers are setting.
Of those five, Hollins is a quality coach, and Gentry would be fine. The other three are pretty underwhelming.
The Lakers seem to be narrowing their options – but that will at least help the team with the narrowest search of all.