The search for the next New York Knicks head coach appears to be over. Team president Phil Jackson found his guy in Derek Fisher and it appears didn’t let him get away this time. Fisher and the Knicks, according to multiple major media outlets (original ESPN NY report can be found here), have agreed to a five-year contract worth $25 million to fill the head coaching vacancy at Madison Square Garden.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the speculation this hire has drawn since Steve Kerr turned down the position. Phil Jackson made it known publicly that he was heavily considering Fisher, whom he coached for nine seasons and won five championships with in Los Angeles. Fisher is a Jax disciple that is familiar with the triangle offense and understands Phil’s basketball philosophy.
Well, was it the right move?
It’s not a question that can be completely answered right now, but I really feel as though this is a good hire for the Knicks. There was a pretty specific criteria that Jackson had during the search; he wanted a candidate he was familiar with that had no prior experience coaching, thus with the ability to be mentored and molded. The natural and pre-existing relationship between the head coach and the president allows Jackson to keep an on-court presence at practices and help institute a system that he and his coach will have to teach their team. The fact that Fisher is exactly what Jackson was looking for makes it feel as though the fit is right and Knick fans have reason to be excited to see them work in conjunction with one another. The first big step in the Zen Master’s plan has just been revealed.
Fisher, 39, has much to do as he steps off the court and onto the bench. He must hire a new staff, which was cleaned out in its entirety when Mike Woodson was fired. He’s got to get to know the personnel of the team and look into the future in which New York has money to spend and spots to fill. He also must work with Jackson on trying to re-sign Carmelo Anthony, which is now priority No. 1 for this organization. It’s a mystery at this point whether this move impacts Melo’s decision one way or the other, but it seems logical that if he’s on board with Jackson’s plan enough to stay than hiring Fisher ins’t an issue.
After getting the run around from Kerr, Jackson has made his first major acquisition as Knicks president. Fisher will try to join the list of coaches who have been able to have somewhat instantaneous success in the NBA despite having no previous experience. He certainly has the basketball mind to do it and was thought of as fit to become a coach in the future for most of his 18-year playing career.
Phil ended up getting the guy he wanted the second time around and can institute the next level of his plan to bring glory to the Knicks. The journey on Broadway is just beginning and more coverage on Fisher and the Knicks is to follow on Empire Writes Back.