The New York Knicks have an agreement in place with Derek Fisher to become the team’s next coach, according to reports. The two sides are in the process of finalizing a five-year, $25 million deal.
Fisher, who earned $4.73 million combined over the last three seasons and made $5 million just four times in his 18 seasons as a player, spent the past week deciding on his future after the Oklahoma City Thunder were knocked out of the playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakersat one point had interest in hiring Fisher for their coaching vacancy. Fisher also was mulling a return to the court or a transition to the front office, but ultimately decided to join Knicks president Phil Jackson in New York.
Fisher’s relationship with Jackson is believed to be one of the factors that led him to choosing the Knicks. Fisher won five titles while playing for Jackson in Los Angeles.
The two have remained close since Fisher’s playing days. Fisher and Jackson spoke briefly over the phone last week.
Fisher, 39, earlier this month spoke about his desire to coach in the NBA.
“In the last maybe decade or so, I’ve really felt like my purpose in life, my calling so to speak, was to be in a leadership position or some position of impact on other people,” Fisher said after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs. “Coaching allows for you to positively impact other people’s lives.”
Jackson initially sought Steve Kerr for the Knicks vacancy. Kerr accepted an offer to coach the Golden State Warriors instead of the Knicks. Jackson essentially put his coaching search on hold to wait to speak to Fisher first after missing out on initial top Kerr.
Since Jackson agreed to take over as Knicks president in March, sources say he has always intended to hire a young coach he could mentor. He also wanted to hire a coach with whom he had a relationship. Fisher fits both criteria.