NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Derek Fisher is still playing basketball. But if the Knicks have their way he’ll be coaching them very soon.
Fisher, whose Oklahoma City Thunder will attempt to close out the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 on Thursday night, is the new front-runner to coach the Knicks next season, the Daily News reported earlier in the day.
Fisher, 39, is a five-time NBA champion as a player and, like Steve Kerr, who spurned the Knicks for the head coaching offer from the Golden State Warriors, has no professional coaching experience and is a disciple of Knicks president Phil Jackson. It is believed Jackson is considering hiring Fisher and surrounding him with a bunch of assistants who also have ties to Jackson, former players like Bill Cartwright and Kurt Rambis, the Daily News reported.
But that’s not the only scenario. Other news outlets are reporting other candidates will also be considered for the head coach job, including Tyronn Lue and Luke Walton, ESPN reported.
Lue has been working under Doc Rivers for the last five seasons, first with the Boston Celtics and now with the Clippers. Walton served as an assistant with the Memphis Tigers during the 2011 NBA lockout, and spent this season as a Los Angeles D-Fenders assistant coach and a Lakers television analyst, CBS Sports reported.
The Knicks also apparently had interest in Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, before he decided to re-sign with the Cyclones, ESPN reported.
Brian Shaw, currently head coach of the Denver Nuggets, could also be considered, ESPN reported. Shaw, a former player and assistant coach under Jackson with the Lakers, has previously stated that he does not intend to leave Denver.
Fisher has played 18 NBA seasons for five different teams, enjoying his most success during two stints with the Lakers (1996-2004; 2007-12). Owner of an 8.3-point career scoring average, Fisher is known as a clutch long-range shooter and consummate winner. It is believed if surrounded by the right assistants and mentored by someone like Jackson he’d have an easy transition to the sidelines, perhaps along the lines of what Jason Kidd experienced in Brooklyn this season.
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