Trading in his jersey for a suit, former NBA veteran Derek Fisher is now the NBA’s newest head coach.
Fisher, who recently concluded his 18th NBA season, was named the head coach of the New York Knicks earlier this month.
Winning a total of five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers during his NBA playing career, Fisher will once again join forces with Phil Jackson, the coach with whom those titles were won. Earlier this year, Jackson, who had taken a hiatus from basketball, returned to the NBA to become the president of the Knicks.
Signing a deal worth a reported $25 million, Fisher’s transition certainly won’t be easy, at least not on the surface. Fisher, 39, has no coaching experience. Essentially, the Knicks are relying on Fisher’s understanding of the NBA, his winning pedigree, and his ability to relate to the current players.
Serving as the president of the National Basketball Players Association from 2006-2013, Fisher is not only familiar with the game of basketball, but the various business aspects of the NBA. Fisher was quite outspoken, as the voice of the players, during the 2011 NBA lockout. The labor dispute delayed the start of the 2011 NBA season by almost two months.
In terms of the immediate challenges Fisher will face, the contract status of Carmelo Anthony is one. Anthony, one of the most productive players in the NBA, has expressed his desire to opt out of his current contract and test the waters as a free agent. While it does appear, at least at this juncture, that Anthony will not return to the Knicks next season, Phil Jackson and Fisher will most certainly make a push to encourage Anthony to be the cornerstone for this new era of basketball in New York.
Finishing the most recent campaign with a record of 37-45, the Knicks are hoping that Fisher, with the help of Jackson, can build New York into an organization to be reckoned with in the years to come.
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