Report: Derek Fisher finalizing five-year, $25 million contract with Knicks

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When Phil Jackson didn’t get his Plan A (Steve Kerr), a renewed coaching search brought Derek Fisher to the top.

Jackson patiently waited for Fisher to finish playing for the Thunder, who made a lengthy playoff run with him as their backup point guard.

Finally, Fisher and Jackson spoke – and this negotiation didn’t last as long as the Knicks’ with Kerr.

New York needn’t worry about finding a Plan C.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Strange that the Knicks would offer Fisher, their backup choice, more than they offered Kerr. Maybe James Dolan, Jackson and whomever else is running the show in New York wised up to market forces.

They got their man this time – not that Fisher is guaranteed to succeed.

Not even close.

Fisher has no coaching experience – his playing career apparently ended less than two weeks ago – but he’s highly regarded for his on-court decision making. Although that’s definitely a positive, I don’t think it translates to coaching as seamlessly as many others do.

It won’t help if Jackson stocks the coaching staff with failed head coaches and others without experience just because they once played for him.

But Jackson – one of the greatest coaches in NBA history – could overcome all this doubt. If Jackson planned to coach through Kerr, that’s probably the same strategy he’ll use with Fisher.

This could be an incredible opportunity for Fisher, whose salary more than triples from this season as a player. Not only that, a chance to learn under Jackson could be invaluable for someone with no coaching experience. If Fisher isn’t ready to excel as an NBA coach – and I doubt he is – Jackson can guide him through rough water. Of course, that’s predicated on Jackson, a first-time executive, knowing how to manage from the front office.

Fisher has his work cut out for him with an old roster that might lose its best player, Carmelo Anthony, and has minimal salary-cap flexibility to upgrade. But Fisher is not in that boat alone.

Jackson has his work cut out for him, too – and this hire doesn’t make Jackson’s job any easier.

Dan Patrick Show: Kenny Smith endorses going straight from playing to coaching

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.

O.G. Anunoby invited to NBA draft, Harry Giles declines

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The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.

The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.

Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.

Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?

Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?

I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).

Report: Knicks’ asking price for Kristaps Porzingis ‘massive’

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What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.

At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.

Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.

Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.

But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.

There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.

Lonzo Ball recruits LeBron James to Lakers (video)

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Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.

But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.

The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.

Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?

Ball on ESPN:

LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.

Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.

Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.