Team president Phil Jackson gets former player to run squad.
The New York Knicks formally introduced Derek Fisher as their new head coach, the 26th in franchise history, during a press conference on Tuesday.
"I'm excited to embark on the next phase of my basketball career and look forward to coaching a Knicks team that fans can be proud of," Fisher told the media at the press conference. "It's an honor to work alongside Phil Jackson, who is both a legend and friend, as we strive together to reach our ultimate goal of bringing a championship back to New York."
After being spurned by Steve Kerr, his first choice to coach the Knicks, team president Jackson zeroed in on Fisher, making the hire only 10 days after Fish’s Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated in the Western Conference Finals. Fisher won five NBA championships playing with the Los Angeles Lakers under Jackson.
"Today marks the next step of this journey for the New York Knicks franchise as we name Derek to lead the team as its head coach," Jackson said. "Our relationship began 15 years ago, and over time, it has come clear to me that he and I can form a great partnership once again."
Immediately, Fisher will have to get to work. The Knicks are coming off a losing season in which they failed to make the playoffs and are without any picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. In addition, their superstar Carmelo Anthony is expected to become a free agent. To the latter, Fisher said it will ultimately be Anthony’s choice, but that he would “love the opportunity to work closely with Carmelo.”
Fisher, 39, also made it clear that while he has no coaching experience, having never coached the game on any level, he has plenty of “basketball experience” and looks forward to implementing the triangle offense that Jackson was famous for. He also added that he thinks the Knicks can win with the team they have now.
“I’m not as down on the roster or the team as some of you are,” Fisher said with a smirk to members of the media.
The Knicks didn’t release the financial terms of the Fisher deal, but it is believed to be in the neighborhood of a five-year, $25 million agreement, according to Yahoo Sports.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)