It was almost inevitable that once Derek Fisher had finally finished playing the game that he loves so much, that he would transition to the sidelines at some point. When and where was anyone’s guess, but it has now become clear that the New York Knicks will appoint Fisher as their new head coach on a five year $25 million deal. It is a huge contract and a huge task for a rookie coach – but Fisher hasn’t been a “rookie” for a long time now.
Clearly a leader on the young Oklahoma City Thunder squad, and former president of the NBA Players Association – being in charge and leading is nothing new to Fisher. He made a career out of being an on-floor general and has a terrific basketball IQ. After what seems like 50 years in the league (actually “only” 20 seasons) Fisher will step away from playing the game and turn to teaching others how to do so.
Being reunited with former coach and mentor Phil Jackson surely helped sway the nuggety point guard to take arguably one of the toughest jobs in all of professional sports. The New York Knicks are one of the NBA’s biggest market teams with a passionate but unforgiving fanbase. After coming off a season or two where they have failed to live up to expectations, the task is a monumental one for the rookie coach Fisher. He has one of the most talented players in the game on his roster – Carmelo Anthony (for now) but not much else to work with.
News of the Fisher to New York deal broke when the Thunder were still in the midst of their playoff run. Phil Jackson was ultimately fined $25,000 for his “tampering” of the situation. A small fee if Fisher can turn the proud franchise around.
We will learn more about the appointment in the near future no doubt, but whether the signing of Fisher is enough to turn the Knicks around remains to be seen. Will Carmelo now buy in to the Knicks future? Will the first deal that the New York Knicks do with Fisher at the helm be to trade with his former side?
The team at Thunderous Intentions wish Derek Fisher all the best. His experience and leadership will be missed, but hopefully it will shine through in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook next season. It now also opens up a roster spot for OKC and potentially more playing time for budding young stars like Jeremy Lamb.