Derek Fisher is pretty sure his NBA playing days probably ended Saturday night after the Thunder were ousted from the playoffs. But now the doors have possibly opened for new career as head coach of the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers. Again — possibly.
The 17-year NBA veteran, who lingered on the court after the Thunder loss, said he had too much respect for his teammates to talk about any coaching job, adding he’ll need a few days to make up his mind.
“I can’t go there tonight,’’ Fisher said in the Thunder locker room. “It’s too fresh of a wound. It’s possible this truly symbolizes the end of a very long career. I don’t think [with] the emotions I’m feeling now it’s smart to bet on what I’m going to do next. I’m definitely going to take it seriously and consider my options, consider what’s best and go from there. There’s a right way to wrap this season up and show it the proper respect.’’
Fisher has been projected as a coaching candidate with his former team in Los Angeles and with his former coach, Phil Jackson, in New York since the playoffs began.
The Lakers and Knicks could move forward with any plans to interview him now that the Thunder's season has ended. Fisher said he has not directly talked to Jackson or any other NBA executive. Jackson told New York media members last Friday that he had not spoken to Fisher.
“There are a number of people who will be impacted by the decision I do make,’’ Fisher said.
“Whether I continue to play or do something else within the game, there’s a lot at stake.’’
After Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks' coaching job to go to the Golden State Warriors, one NBA source said the Knicks would likely stop its search until Fisher was available. The Lakers have already interviewed several coach candidates.
The Thunder still hope he comes back, possibly as a player/assistant coach, but that seems doubtful if a head coaching job is on the table.