Derek Fisher didn't know what his next career step would be immediately following his Oklahoma City Thunder's elimination loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, but during his exit interview with the media, he reflected as if his playing days could be numbered.
In a 20-minute interview posted on NewsOK.com, the 39-year-old Fisher said he felt like he could still play but that he didn't know whether he fit into Oklahoma City's plans next year. And if it is the end of his playing career, he wasn't shy about his desire to continue on as a coach.
Should he decide his 18-year career is over, it's then a matter of determining whether he will take time off to spend it with family or if the opportunities -- openings with the Lakers and Knicks -- are too hard to pass up.
"I always envisioned finishing up as a player at whatever point and then taking a step back, you go on a sabbatical for a year or two, and you go home and you become the best at-home dad you can be for a while, and then you make a decision about what to do next," Fisher said. "That's not the way the world works these days. So much of life is timing and opportunity."
The opportunities come in the form of two of the biggest coaching jobs in the NBA. That Fisher is close with the Lakers and star Kobe Bryant could tug his decision-making in one direction. His former coach in Los Angeles, Phil Jackson, being the new president for the Knicks could pull Fisher in another.
Of course, Fisher will have to allow the wound of the Thunder's loss to heal as well. Then he'll have his family to consider.
"There's for sure huge layers added to the personal relationship and professional relationship I've had with Phil Jackson over the years and being in the position that he's in," Fisher said. "And then you like you said, also with the Lakers having an opening it for sure adds layers to it. But Just like any important decisions in life, you can't be driven by completely by what's going on externally. You have to have an internal set of boundaries, and just kind of a compass, of what you make decisions by."
According to NewsDay, Jackson and Fisher have discussed the latter's coaching future over the last few years, and the Knicks president also made it clear the Thunder guard fit the profile of someone he'd consider as head coach. There is no timetable for talks to advance, but it's clear Fisher will talk to the Knicks to at least hear Jackson's pitch.