First of all, let me apologize for the headline. It was just too delicious a pun not to gobble it up like so many chocolate-covered cherries. If the Post/News doesn’t steal my Thunder [giggles] tomorrow by running the exact same thing, then you can put me in the pun-itentiary or at a minimum, the pun-alty box [bursts into uncontrollable peals of laughter].
Anyhoo, according to multiple reports, Derek Fisher has agreed to become the HC of the NYK. The all-seeing Panopticon of breaking NBA stories, the man they call Woj, hath twat:
Derek Fisher is closing on a deal to become Knicks coach, league source tells Yahoo Sports. @FisolaNYDN first reported.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 9, 2014
And then he followed hard upon with…
Derek Fisher is finalizing an agreement on a 5-year, $25 million deal to become the Knicks coach, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 9, 2014
Okay. A couple of things. After weeks of fretting that D-Fish (we’re trying out a bunch o’ nicknames here to start. Coming up with “Son of Wood” takes time.) would go the way of Steve “The Runaway Bride” Kerr and either jump into the warm, comforting embrace of that team with some nice beaches and pretty views of the Pacific Ocean, or return to sort-of play/sort-of coach with Kevin and Russell and Serge and all those nifty cats on the OKC Frackers, he did decide to take up Phil’s daunting challenge.
And despite all of Phil’s talk in his intro presser about “Thinking outside the box” when it came to picking a coach, the only thing outside of it was the bros in his ‘circle,’and it to be in that circle you had to run the Triangle. This guy’s got a seriously fetishistic obsession with geometric shapes, I tells ya.
That made for a relatively short short list, especially when you consider the fact that he/she also had to have played for the Lakers or Bulls (Tim Floyd was not getting a call, is what I’m saying) and eliminated your Van Gundy’s, Karl’s, Hollins’s, McMillan’s or even a name college guy like Hoiberg or Ollie from serious consideration.
To my point, here’s our buddy Howie Beck with a list of the potential assistants:
Fisher's staff is very likely to include Kurt Rambis. Others in mix: Rick Fox, Luke Walton, Bill Cartwright.
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 9, 2014
I’m sure somewhere Slava Medvedenko is wondering what the hell he did to piss Phil off. Probably never finished that copy of Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. In fairness to Slava, that ish is long.
So, given the narrow strictures that Phil established, I’m totally cool with this hire. Think about this: if back in January we’d told you that by Father’s Day, Phil Jackson would be running the Knicks and Derek Fisher would be coaching, you’d have asked what substances we were imbibing. It’s still oddly unnerving to think that this is real, and that it might even work.
The fact that Fisher has zero experience might rankle, but that’s also something that Phil wanted. Jackson will be at practice and helping smooth out some of the rough patches as the team gets all Triangle-y and chemistry-y. And this way, Phil can astrally project his soul into a (relatively) empty vessel for what’s sure to be a transition year, with our without Melo. It’s Phil de facto coaching the Knicks without the physical strain of, you know, actually coaching the Knicks. Yay? Yay.
There are also lots of nice quotes from current and former players saying what a cool dude he is, and Fish certainly seems to be fairly well-regarded. He did absolutely fornicate with the canine in his stint with the NBAPA, so if you’re going to toss around the ol’ ‘leadership’ canard, that definitely needs to be mentioned too. Like Stack said:
“Derek has stepped up and has really tried to grab the reins but I think he has to go too. If you’re not aware of everything that’s happened on your watch for so long, I think the whole system is flawed. He’s talked so much about what he’s done. We have shorter salaries, a hard cap. Make sure you take credit for that, too.”
Coaching isn’t running a union, but still, we’re dealing with a pretty big unknown. Then again, what’s known ’round these parts has been almost uniformly execrable.
Lastly, the money.
No, a coach’s paycheck doesn’t count against the cap. And since this only puts a slight dent in MSG’s vault, I really don’t care how many ducats Phil/Dolan/Basic Cable Fees coughed up. It is slightly weird that he got more than Kerr even though Fish-Head was clearly Jax’s second choice.
There’s a ton of noise and very little signal at all when it comes to the exact deets of the Kerr negotiations, so there’s really no way of knowing whether A) Kerr ever gave the Knicks a chance to match Golden State’s final offer and B) whether that would have made a difference. As our man in Casablanca, netw3rk, postulated, “Don’t discount Phil catching feelings after they had (allegedly) a spoken agreement.”
Also, giving 25mil to a coach with zero actual experience is an overpay. Unless the Buss family floated some sooper-seekrit offer that no one’s heard about, the ‘Bockers were bidding against themselves. That’s a pretty familiar turn of events for this team (See Houston, Allan). More importantly, this is bound to happen when you have a GM that–like his coach–has never held that title before.
In any case, a coaching search that feels like it’s taken decades is finally over. Part of me wishes that Phil had been willing to interview candidates that weren’t “his guys,” but this is his plan, and after season after season (save for Walsh’s brief period of Reconstruction) of no plan at all, it’s as good a place as any to start.
One thing I don’t like though. BEARDS.
— Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta) June 6, 2014