Suddenly, it's a virtue to have no head-coaching experience in the NBA. How else to explain this fascination with Derek Fisher being the leading candidate to lead the New York Knicks?
The NBA fined team president Phil Jackson $25,000 for tampering after he made comments about his interest in Fisher, who just ended his 18th season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and is expected to retire. Technically, Fisher still is under contract with the Thunder. He'll be 40th in August.
Not long ago, the Knicks appeared on the verge of hiring a first-time coach in Steve Kerr, who had served as a general manager for the Phoenix Suns but has spent most of his post-playing career as an analyst for Turner Sports. The moment Jackson wanted Kerr, he became a hot commodity and was scooped up by the Golden State Warriors instead on a five-year deal worth $25 million.
Kerr replaced Mark Jackson, who coached the Warriors to a 51-win season. Like Kerr -- and Fisher -- Jackson had no previous experience on the sideline even as an assistant.
Fisher played for Phil Jackson when both were with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning championships in 2009 and '10. After signing a one-year deal with the Thunder this season, Fisher had said then that this would be his final season. The Lakers are looking for a coach, too, after Mike D'Antoni resigned though there's no suggestion that they're interested in Fisher.
“There’s for sure huge layers added to (the decision),” Fisher said, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com. “The personal relationship and professional relationship that I’ve had with Phil Jackson over the years, and being in the position that he’s in. And also, with the Lakers having an opening, it for sure adds layers to it. But like other important decisions in life, I don’t think you can be driven by what’s going on externally. You have to have an internal set of boundaries and just kind of a compass that you make decisions by. I’ll combine all those things as I try and make the best decision possible.”