Since the New York Knicks whiffed on their top coaching choice, Steve Kerr, the team is no longer in a rush to fill its vacancy.
President Phil Jackson is preaching patience, likely because he’s waiting for one current player to finish up his playoff run.
ESPN.com reported Jackson will proceed with the Knicks’ coaching search after the Oklahoma Thunder complete their playoff run and he can “seriously discuss the position” with Derek Fisher. Like Kerr, Fisher played point guard under Jackson when the two were in Los Angeles.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks told the New York Daily News it would not surprise him to see Fisher return for one more season, though Fisher has been adamant his 18th season will be his last in the Association. Fisher has deflected any potential interest in a head coaching job.
“I would tell people to allow me to finish my career as a player before they give me another job after that. It’s humbling, just to think about people thinking of me in that manner, especially while I’m still playing. (But) I promise you this is the last thing on my mind at this point. I really haven’t thought about it that much. Hopefully there’s a lot of basketball left to be played this season for sure. Once that’s done we’ll go from there.”
Waiting also allows Jackson to take his time with another candidate, former Golden States Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
Mark Jackson has re-joined ESPN as a game analyst for the Eastern Conference finals, but a source told the New York Post there’s an opt-out clause that would allow him to return to the sidelines at any time and that allows him to speak with prospective teams.
Per the report, Mark Jackson is a candidate for the Knicks job because Phil Jackson is no longer pursuing coaches with knowledge of the triangle offense. And unlike Fisher, Mark Jackson is a veteran coach.
Over the weekend, Jackson restarted the coaching search by meeting with longtime NBA coach Mike Dunleavy. The two reportedly had breakfast together at a hotel in Chicago on Friday.
Dunleavy, like Fisher, is on the Los Angeles Lakers’ radar as well. He has coaches four teams over the last 17 years and has a relationship with Phil Jackson dating back to their playing days in the 1970s.
Dunleavy last coached with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2003-10 may be willing to install the triangle offense in New York. However, ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard reported that although Dunleavy is a candidate for the job, he is not at the top of Phil Jackson’s list.