GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Another major roster shakeup is coming this offseason for the Knicks but Derek Fisher also sees more stability on the way and he thinks everyone will benefit from that.
Only four players have fully guaranteed contracts for next season. The Knicks (15-62) will have a high lottery pick and more than $25 million for free agency, so they basically will be handpicking the players they want as they rebuild from the worst season in franchise history.
"Some of the guys that we have returning and that will be on our team next year will understand who we are and what we're asking of them and then guys that we are fortunate enough to draft or sign in free agency will be here from Day 1," Fisher said after practice Tuesday. "There won't be as much transition and turnover and new personalities and new leadership styles. I think that will work better for everyone.
"Even culturally, around our group, the front office, coaches, training staff, medical staff, everyone, we were all just working together for the first time over the course of this season. And all of those things impact what happens on the court. So we're looking forward to having a more fluid summer in that regard."
Team president Phil Jackson brought in seven new players last summer. He thought he assembled a playoff team, but realized early on he was mistaken and started tearing things up. Since Jan. 5, the Knicks have made two trades, waived two veterans and signed four players.
The Knicks are still deciding who they want to bring back from this team, which has five games remaining starting with tonight's matchup against the Pacers.
Whoever is with the Knicks next season, the message will be the same from Fisher -- and it was personified by Duke in winning the national championship Monday over Wisconsin. Fisher noted that Duke had just eight scholarship guys and four were freshman.
"That's not the team I guess that most people would have picked to win the championship this season or even when the tournament started," he said. "I think it shows you that when guys buy in and their willing to sacrifice a lot of their own individual success for kind of a greater purpose, a common goal, just about anything is possible."
Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor, projected to go first or second in the draft, was in foul trouble and quiet Monday. It could have been a cautionary tale about younger players needing time to develop. The Knicks could end up with a freshman if they get a top-four pick. But Fisher didn't seem overly concerned and referenced his old teammate Kobe Bryant.
"I think each player is different," Fisher said. "I played with a guy who came out of high school when he was 18. Basically now he's one of the best players to ever play the game. It just depends on who that guy is."