This week the New York Knicks reportedly are cranking up their pursuit of Derek Fisher to be the team’s next head coach, mentored by none other than Phil Jackson.
But after watching their verbal agreement with Steve Kerr fall apart, Jackson is working on some Plan B (or is it “C”) options.
Like Rick Fox.
The former NBA player under Jackson with the Lakers who currently is an actor and analyst on NBA TV told NBC Sports Radio on the Erik Kuselias Show that he is a candidate for the Knicks coaching job. Here is the audio (the transcript is below):
Rick Fox: “Phil Jackson obviously is with the Knicks now and I’ve been speaking with him for about 4 months about that very situation. I love supporting him and his vision for what’s going to go down in New York and we’ve had those discussions and so he knows I’m open to working with him and doing something as exciting as resurrecting the chances of the Knicks returning to glory.
Erik Kuselias: So is it fair to say you’re a candidate for the Knicks coaching job?
Rick Fox: “Yeah…I’ve been a candidate for while and what I’m comfortable communicating is that there’s really nothing for me to do. Phil has expressed his interest, and the patience for him discovering who is right for that job is left in his court. I know that Phil is as competent a coach as there ever was so that if you’re a Knicks fan, to know that he’s going to find the right person to work with in that capacity has to be comforting to those people and you just let it play out.”
It sounds to me like Fox is in the pool of assistant coaches/Plan C guys should the push to sign Fisher fall through.
The focus and push from New York is all about Fisher this week, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
One source close to the talks said Monday that “things could take shape quickly in the early part of the week.” The Knicks, though, are approaching this serious stage of talks with a hint of trepidation after the seemingly inevitable hiring of Kerr unraveled.
Fisher could decide he wants to play one more year with the Thunder. He didn’t sound like that as his exit interview after the Spurs eliminated the Thunder, but it could happen.
I am a Rick Fox fan, a high IQ player who would have respect of the players and can communicate his vision well. But he’s not the natural born leader that Fisher is. Jackson is getting paid $12 million a year to essentially change the culture of the New York Knicks — getting the players in place is just one part of making that a functional organization — and Fisher is far better suited to that task.
That said, Fox and Jackson are talking. Make of that what you will.