Derek Fisher called it "humbling" and "flattering" that he's believed to be the new No. 1 on Phil Jackson's list of Knicks coaching candidates. But Fisher said he won't think about his future until the Thunder's season is over.
Oklahoma City opened the Western Conference finals Monday night against the Spurs, and Fisher said his only concern is trying to win his sixth championship ring.
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"Phil knows better than anybody at this time of year that singular focus that you have to have, and that's what I'm trying to do for myself and for this team," Fisher told The Oklahoman yesterday. "My future, regardless of what it is, I'm not concerned about it until after these playoffs are done."
So the wait is on.
Jackson wasn't expected to reach out to Fisher until after he was done playing, anyway. Fisher, who won five championships playing for Jackson with the Lakers, is leaning toward retiring after this season.
Fisher, 39, emerged as the top candidate to be the Knicks' coach only after Steve Kerr turned down Jackson's offer and took the Golden State job. Kerr completed his five-year, $25-million contract with the Warriors on Monday. Fisher said he has only spoken to Jackson once since he became the Knicks' president.
"We touched base right before his official press conference when he accepted the job," Fisher said. "And since then, we haven't spoken. Obviously, he's busy in terms of trying to make the changes he needs to make there. But I have a day job, as well, and I think he respects that more than anybody.
"He taught me a lot about how to operate during this time of year. We talk every offseason. I'm sure we'll talk again when the season's over. But I don't have any intentions on reaching out to him. And I think he respects the space that I'm in right now, as well."
Jackson is expected to hire a coach whom he knows well and is well versed in the triangle offense. Fisher fits both criteria.
Other potential candidates include Kurt Rambis, Brian Shaw, Jim Cleamons, Tyronn Lue, Luke Walton and Bill Cartwright. Some from that list could be hired as assistants.
If it's Fisher, who is finishing his 18th NBA season, he would need some experienced coaches on his staff. Rambis, Cartwright and Cleamons have been head coaches and assistants during their careers.
"Right now, it's tough to wrap my mind around anything other than playing basketball," Fisher said. "I've been doing this for a very long time. Every week or two, there's a chance it could be my last week. So that part in itself is tough enough. And like I said, until I'm done helping my team this year, I'm not spending a lot of time on other things right now."
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