Despite an initial curiosity for hiring the man who shared a backcourt with Kobe Bryant for five NBA championships, the Lakers will no longer consider Derek Fisher a candidate to fill the team's head coaching vacancy, according to a report from Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
The Lakers front office has shifted to the belief Fisher will be a good coach and/or executive in the league at some point, but the team's immediate needs now call for a coach with previous experience, according to Bresnahan. To that end, Lakers executives have interviewed five candidates since their season ended: Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Lionel Hollins, Alvin Gentry and Mike Dunleavy.
A report earlier this week from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said Fisher and Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke on Wednesday over the phone about the head coaching vacancy in New York. The veteran point guard is expected to take the weekend to decide whether he wants to retire from the NBA after 18 years as a player in the league. If he decides to call it a career, Fisher, who turns 40 in August, will have more substantial conversations with Jackson next week about the opening in New York, according to Wojnarowski.
News of the Lakers' decision to look for someone with previous experience also rules out a few college coaches who had reportedly been rumored to be of interest, i.e. Kentucky's John Calipari -- who earlier this week signed an extension with the Wildcats to remain with the program through 2021 -- and UConn's Kevin Ollie, according to ESPN. Roy Williams from the Tar Heels had also initially been looked at by the Lakers, according to the Los Angeles Times report. The Lakers have no interviews scheduled for the early part of this coming week, and the franchise has a "50-50 chance" of naming Mike D'Antoni's replacement before the June 26 NBA Draft, according to the report citing a person familiar with the process.