Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson will soon reunite in New York. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Derek Fisher has agreed to become the head coach of the New York Knicks and is currently finalizing a five-year, $25 million contract, according to reports.
Fisher, 39, played 17.6 minutes per game off the bench for the Thunder this season. He was a regular contributor throughout Oklahoma City's run to the Western Conference finals and all the while a prominent figure in the Knicks coaching search.
New York reportedly held interest in Fisher as a coaching candidate for months, in large part due to his nine seasons as a point guard under Phil Jackson, who now serves as the Knicks' team president. Not only would their established working relationship help to smooth over relations between New York's coaching staff and front office, but Fisher's familiarity with the triangle offense could help in the potential installation of that system. Jackson even went as far as to discuss the possibility of Fisher coaching the team publicly, for which he was tagged with a $25,000 tampering fine.
“The last two summers, Derek and I have talked about the next step in his career,” Jackson said during a press conference last week. “So I kind of know what he wants to do, and his feelings. He’s got family in L.A. He’s got little kids still in L.A. I have no idea if he wants to move his family and come here. Those are things that he would have to express. There are so many unknowns.”
When asked whether he would be willing to venture outside of his circle to find a new coach, Jackson responded simply: “I have a big circle.” Fisher very much falls within it, as do the early reported candidates to fill out his staff. Former Jackson assistant (and current Lakers assistant) Kurt Rambis will likely join Fisher on the bench as an assistant, per Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Rick Fox, Bill Cartwright, and Luke Walton -- all of whom played under Jackson -- are also reported to be in the running.
The Lakers also had expressed some interest in Fisher, but reportedly decided to remove the point guard from their coaching search and focus on more experienced candidates. Fisher, though an 18-year veteran, is a complete newcomer to the coaching scene. The same was true of Nets head coach Jason Kidd -- a similarly tenured point guard who took Brooklyn to the second round of the 2014 playoffs in the season immediately following his retirement. Steve Kerr, who verbally agreed to take the Knicks job in May only to change course, will also be a first-time head coach this coming season with the Warriors. Kerr reportedly signed a five-year, $25 million contract similar to Fisher's.
The Knicks scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to make a "major announcement."
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