Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

Rick Fox says he’s a candidate for Knicks coaching job; Fisher still front-runner


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.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.