NBA Rumors: Derek Fisher The Frontrunner In Knicks’ Atypical Coaching Search

Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher
Cary Edmondson USA TODAY Sports

It’s been about a week since the New York Knicks were spurned by Steve Kerr, who instead took a job coaching the Golden State Warriors.

Many candidates have surfaced to the top of president Phil Jackson‘s wish list, including Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw and Mike Dunleavy.

Dunleavy interviewed with Jackson last weekend, while Shaw has said he has happy as the coach of the Denver Nuggets. Fisher, whose Oklahoma City Thunder are two games away being eliminated from the Western Conference finals, remains the frontrunner, though his interest in being an NBA head coach remains unknown.

“We know Derek Fisher is a strong candidates, but the Knicks can’t talk to him until after he’s done playing, which may be in a few days the way things are looking with the Thunder-Spurs series,” ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard said Thursday on ‘SportsCenter.’ “We have to find out if Fisher really wants to coach. He’s actually been playing well in this series.”

“I would say he’s the frontrunner,” Broussard added. “Obviously they (the Knicks) will talk to other people, but it’s not a typical coaching search where you just look at the best available coaches with experience. Mark Jackson, Lionel Hollins — they want to coach their way. Phil is looking for someone to coach his way.”

Dunleavy previously coached the Los Angeles Clippers from 2003-2010, and has experience running the triangle offense. Unlike some of the aforementioned head coaching candidates with experience, Dunleavy may be more willing to conform to Phil Jackson’s coaching style.

Still, however, Fisher is considered at the top of Phil Jackson’s wish list.

“They talked to Dunleavy. Dunleavy is interested because he’s a veteran with experience, but also a guy who has run the triangle in the past and has a good relationship with Phil Jackson and who could be open to listening to Phil’s philosophy and incorporating some of that, and kind of working in tandem, which is what you don’t get with a lot of most established coaches.

“I don’t think Dunleavy will get the job, but it’s someone they talked to.”

Shaw just wrapped up his first season in Denver, and has since denied interest in the Knicks’ vacancy.

There is doubt the Nuggets would even allow Phil Jackson to contact Shaw, as the Knicks don’t have enough trade assets to potentially make a deal for him.

“There’s no indications the Nuggets will let him go, especially to the Knicks who have no way of compensating them in a trade, if you will,” Broussard said. “I think Brian Shaw is a little bit of a stretch, although he is certainly someone Phil Jackson would love to hire if they could.”

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Sam Spiegelman
Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.