The Lakers have decided they need a head coach with previous experience leading an NBA team, ending Derek Fisher‘s candidacy for their vacancy, reports Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. was interested in Fisher, the Knicks’ front-runner at the moment, but has opted against exploring a repeat of Jason Kidd‘s immediate transition from player to head coach with the Nets last season. It is unclear if Los Angeles ever reached out to Fisher as planned, or if this decision was made before such contact could be made. The Lakers’ narrowed focus on experience also eliminates any college coaches as potential candidates, Bresnahan writes.
Fisher has yet to officially announce his retirement, but Phil Jackson has spoken with the veteran point guard about the job. Jackson received permission from the Thunder to contact Fisher after getting dinged for tampering by making public comments regarding the player still under contract in Oklahoma City. If Fisher does decide to join the coaching ranks, the Knicks appear to be the most serious contender for his services. The possibility of Fisher playing another year in Oklahoma City to function as an informal assistant coach has been raised, but such a scenario doesn’t seem likely by any current reports.
Although Fisher was largely expected to end up with the Knicks anyway, this should come as welcome news to Jackson. Steve Kerr was Jackson’s first choice to come lead the team under the Zen Master’s authority and tutelage, but made the surprising choice to accept Golden State’s job offer instead. Jackson reportedly wants to reach an agreement with Fisher very soon, although Fisher has maintained publicly that he doesn’t want to rush to a decision so soon after what was presumably his last season as a player.