Phil Jackson’s first substantive chat with Derek Fisher about the New York Knicks’ coaching job is scheduled to take place this week, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com Monday that Jackson is planning to connect with Fisher by week’s end, giving the Oklahoma City Thunder guard some time to decompress after his team was eliminated by San Antonio Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.
One source cautioned that the discussion shouldn’t be classified as a formal interview, given the long and close working relationship between Jackson and Fisher during their two stints together as coach and player with the Los Angeles Lakers. But another source close to the process told ESPN.com that he thinks Fisher will ultimately find the allure of coaching in New York under Jackson too difficult to pass up.
ESPN reported earlier Monday that Jackson was fined $25,000 by the league for tampering with Fisher in the form of openly discussing the prospect of hiring his former player during a news conference last week.
As ESPN.com reported May 19, Jackson essentially put his coaching search on hold to wait to speak to Fisher first after missing out on initial top target Steve Kerr, who spurned the Knicks to coach the Golden State Warriors.
Sources say that the Lakers, meanwhile, remain interested in discussing their vacancy with Fisher but also continue to proceed with a more deliberate coaching search than the Knicks. The Lakers — who have interviewed coaching veterans Byron Scott, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and Mike Dunleavy, in addition to discussions with former Lakers player and coach Kurt Rambis and ESPN analyst George Karl — are not yet locked into one candidate. The Lakers, sources add, have also internally discussed reaching out to Scott Skiles and former NBA championship-winning coach Larry Brown, who has spent the past two seasons in the college game at SMU.
Fisher said Sunday he remains undecided about retirement, but sources say Jackson continues to hold out hope he can persuade the 39-year-old to make the immediate jump to coaching — as Jason Kidd did last season with Brooklyn — after Fisher’s 18 seasons as a player.
“I’m still struggling with the results of [the series],” Fisher told local reporters Sunday. “I haven’t [had] a chance to talk to my wife and kind of step back emotionally from the end of the season. That’s important to do, so that whatever is next, there has to be a separation from the end of the season and what just happened and then I can go from there.”
Click here to read more.
Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne