New York Knicks president Phil Jackson will make his final push to hire Derek Fisher as head coach this week, but while the eventual hire is expected across the league, there is a lingering worry inside the organization stemming from Steve Kerr's spurning of the same opportunity, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Jackson appears to be all-in on hiring Fisher, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard who has taken the time to discuss his future with family. A deal could be done in the early part of the week, according to Stein's sources, yet there's a worry that Fisher could at the last minute decide against joining the Knicks, just as Kerr did before he instead opted to take the Golden State Warriors' head coaching job.
Fisher's exit alluded to his decision
Knicks fans react
Knicks fans react
When Fisher's season ended as the Thunder were bounced from the Western Conference Finals, he wrapped his season with an emotional postgame media meeting and the next day followed that up with another reflection on his career. All signs pointed to Fisher being done as a player.
The opportunities available also made this the perfect time for Fisher to take a leap into the coaching ranks. Though he's been dropped from the list of candidates up for the Los Angeles Lakers' opening, the chance for the point guard to grow under Jackson, his former Lakers head coach, is unique. Even if Fisher decided his playing days are over and wanted to spend time with his family, it's hard to imagine an introduction to coaching being any better than the opening in New York.
Could he pull a Kerr?
It's hard to see another coaching vacancy becoming open to the inexperienced Fisher, but Stein reports that the biggest fear for the Knicks is that the 39-year-old could get the itch to continue playing. Fisher is a free agent this July, but it's quite possible the Thunder would sign him to remain as a backup point guard who can still defend and still stretch the floor. Perhaps Fisher's comments following the season were in-the-moment reflections, and just maybe he wants one more shot at helping Kevin Durant and Co. to a title.
How likely is it the Knicks get their main target?
Jackson has discussed other head coaching candidates. Former Lakers forward Rick Fox opened up about his discussions with Jackson and says it's in the new Knicks president's court. At this point, it appears Fox and others are backup plans or potential assistant coaches for a new staff.
The Knicks seem to be fully behind Fisher at present, but it's still unknown if time away from the court has rekindled his desire to keep playing. Because there's the chance Fisher changes his mind at the last minute a la Kerr, give the probability of New York hiring him this week an 8 of out 10.