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Derek Fisher fired as Knicks coach

Kurt Rambis will coach the team for the remainder of the season.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have fired head coach Derek Fisher. The news was first reported by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and later confirmed by the team.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Knicks' 101-96 home loss to the Nuggets on Sunday, their fifth in a row and ninth in 10 games. The loss dropped New York to 23-31 and five games behind the Pistons for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"This is a very talented team with strong character and I am confident they will succeed," Fisher said in a statement Monday. "Obviously, I'm disappointed, but have learned an immense amount from this experience and hope to grow from it."

Fisher, who signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Knicks in June 2014 after retiring from the NBA that summer, went 40-96 in less than two seasons at the helm. That record was the primary reason he was fired, according to ESPN New York's Ian Begley, which was confirmed on Monday by Knicks president Phil Jackson, who spoke to the media Monday afternoon.

Jackson was also asked whether Fisher's off-court incident with Matt Barnes played a role in this decision.

"No one's happy about it, or what came out of it," he said. "It was embarrassing for us and for Derek." He added, however, that the incident was not what led to Fisher's firing.

Assistant coach Kurt Rambis will serve as the team's interim head coach for the remainder of the season, according to Jackson. Rambis, who worked as an assistant coach for current Knicks president Phil Jackson back when Jackson was coaching the Lakers, is 56-145 in three seasons as a head coach. His last head coaching gig was in Minnesota, who fired him in 2011 after two seasons.

Given his record and age (57), it's unlikely Rambis has the interim tag removed from his title. Many around the league believe former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw and current Warriors assistant Luke Walton, both of whom have ties to Jackson, are the Knicks' primary targets, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

"It's not paramount, but it's important," Jackson said when asked whether the next coach needs to run the triangle offense. He gave a similar answer when asked whether the next coach needs to be someone he has a previous relationship with.

Jackson also said he never considered taking over as head coach, and that he, and not owner James Dolan, was the one who decided to fire Fisher


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