Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher Hired As L.A. Sparks Head Coach

The Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA have hired five-time NBA champion and former Lakers’ point guard Derek Fisher, 44, as their next head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Fisher, who coached the Knicks for one and a half seasons from the beginning of the 2014/15 season through February, 2016 and compiled a 40-96 record, will be introduced at a news conference this Friday in Los Angeles.

“I’m excited to be the new head coach of the LA Sparks,” Fisher said in a statement. “There is no finer organization in the WNBA and I can’t wait to work with our ownership group, front office, talented players and staff to cement a culture of sustained excellence, which is what LA basketball fans demand — and deserve.”

Fisher, who has no other coaching experience beyond his tenure in New York, will be helped by the presence of two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker in L.A, who praised Fisher’s basketball mind, championship pedigree, and strong leadership after learning of his hiring.

Atlantic Notes: Rozier, Siakam, Fisher, Raptors

Celtics guard Terry Rozier is still getting adjusted to his role off the bench, competing with Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown for minutes in Boston’s crowded backcourt. He was the team’s starting point guard in the spring when Irving was sidelined, but has been limited to just 22.7 minutes per game in 10 contests this season.

“I go from starting in the playoffs to coming off the bench … I’m pretty sure it’s not easy for nobody,” Rozier said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “But I’m not complaining. And, if you know me, I would never be the one to complain about it.

“I would never go to the media or bring out the unhappy thing. Like I said, people that know me know I wouldn’t do that. I’ve never been a selfish type of person, selfish player. You can tell the way I play I’m all about team.

“Everything will be all right. It’s not as bad as people make it seem.”

Bill Simmons of The Ringer tweeted Thursday that Rozier was unhappy with his playing time and that Boston could look to trade him before February’s deadline. At least seven teams would have interest in trading for Rozier, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, but Rozier seems content to stay in Boston for now.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Pascal Siakam‘s early season play has changed the Raptors, playing a key role in the team’s hot 10-1 start, Anisa Jamal of FanSided writes. Siakam has averaged 12.5 points and seven rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game, starting in every contest but one.
  • Derek Fisher wouldn’t have accepted the Knicks‘ head coaching job if he knew running the triangle offense was mandatory, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I wasn’t smart enough to ask the right questions going into taking and accepting the job,” Fisher said.
  • The Raptors have remained flexible with their starting lineups, a key component to their success this season, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes. “We’ve got maybe eight starters and we’re giving them a chance to start every once in a while,” said coach Nick Nurse, who labeled the importance of being versatile.

Derek Fisher Arrested For DUI After Crash

Former Knicks coach Derek Fisher was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving following an early-morning crash in Sherman Oaks, Calif., reports The Los Angeles Daily News.

The incident took place a little after 3 a.m. and resulted in Fisher’s 2015 Cadillac being flipped over onto its roof, according to the California Highway Patrol. He and a passenger, Gloria Govan, were both helped from the vehicle and neither appeared injured, police said. Govan was the subject of a 2015 altercation between Fisher and her ex-husband, Golden State’s Matt Barnes.

Fisher was arrested at the scene without incident, police reported.

After an 18-year NBA career, Fisher was hired to coach the Knicks in 2014. He was fired in February of 2016 with a 40-96 record. Fisher has been working as an analyst for TNT and recently expressed a desire to get back into coaching.

New York Rumors: Nets, KCP, Goodwin, Knicks

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote last week that the Nets are expected to be “major players” this summer for restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This week, Brian Lewis of The New York Post confirms Brooklyn’s interest in the Pistons sharpshooter, writing that the Nets will likely make KCP a “top priority” in the offseason.

“I’m impressed,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said of Caldwell-Pope. “I love how he competes, how he competes on the defensive end. That’s really the essence of what I see when I watch him play. He plays with force, he competes on the defensive end.”

It remains to be seen if the Pistons will be open to a maximum-salary contract for Caldwell-Pope, but that may be what it takes to retain him. With KCP’s Bird rights in hand, Detroit can offer more years and more money than any other team and will have the chance to match any offer. Still, it sounds like the Nets will put plenty of pressure on the Pistons, dipping back into the restricted free agent market after striking out last summer on Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Former first-round pick Archie Goodwin, who is on a 10-day contract with the Nets, tells NetsDaily that he hopes to stick around in Brooklyn for much longer than those 10 days.
  • Carmelo Anthony said on Tuesday that Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek informed the team that he plans to start reducing minutes for some veteran players down the stretch. As Newsday’s Al Iannazzone details, the Knicks want to assess some of their younger players to determine whether or not they have a future with the club.
  • Former Knicks head coach Derek Fisher appeared on The Vertical’s podcast this week and spoke to Adrian Wojnarowski about what led to the end of his time in New York. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News has some of the quotes from Fisher, who admits that his fight with Matt Barnes hurt his standing with the Knicks and talks about the tension created by the triangle offense.
  • Speaking of the triangle, TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal defended his former head coach Phil Jackson, suggesting that the Knicks players are to blame for the system’s ineffectiveness in New York. Marc Berman of The New York Post has the details.

Derek Fisher Eager To Return To Coaching

The Knicks fired Derek Fisher as their head coach a little over 13 months ago, and the former NBA point guard has found a new role as an analyst for TNT. However, as Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press details, Fisher is eager for another shot to coach an NBA team, suggesting that “there’s no question” he’ll return to it at some point.

“I’ve always been most at home, most comfortable when I’m trying to figure out how to help my team win and those were thoughts I had as a player and those were the thoughts I had as a coach,” Fisher said in a phone interview with Mahoney. “So when and if that opportunity presents itself again, I’ll definitely be ready for it. I’m looking forward to it and I think the biggest thing would be what and where and when. I think that applies for everybody that is kind of waiting for and looking for that next great opportunity.”

Fisher’s stint as the Knicks’ head coach was short-lived. After leading the team to a 17-65 record in 2014/15, Fisher got off to a 23-31 start last season before being replaced by Kurt Rambis and – eventually – Jeff Hornacek. New York hasn’t exactly turned things around since Fisher’s dismissal though, having compiled a 36-60 record since then.

No NBA team has fired its coach during the 2016/17 season so far, which is extremely rare — SBNation’s Tom Ziller suggested back in November that it hasn’t happened for at least 35 seasons. Still, it’s unlikely that all 30 NBA teams get through the offseason without some turnover in the coaching ranks, so perhaps at that point Fisher will receive some attention as a candidate.

Although Fisher’s 40-96 record with the Knicks likely won’t make him the most sought-after option available for teams seeking a new head coach, New York’s underwhelming play and Phil Jackson‘s involvement over the last year may retroactively cast Fisher’s performance in a more favorable light.

Atlantic Notes: Ainge, Sullinger, Bradley

The Celtics remain the most likely team to make a splash before the deadline, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The abundance of draft picks and valuable supplementary assets put them in a unique position to either get a deal done directly or facilitate one for others.

I don’t think any move of significance gets done before the deadline without [Celtics general manager] Danny Ainge being given the chance to put his fingerprints on it,” one executive tells Bulpett.

The Celtics, of course, have been featured in trade speculation all season and are one of the possible destinations that Carmelo Anthony would supposedly consider waiving his no-trade clause for. Sources around the league, Bulpett writes, say that Ainge is “patrolling the marketplace in hopes that a player worthy of some of the assets he has accumulated becomes available.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Fifth-year big man Jonas Valanciunas isn’t a good fit in Toronto, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Valanciunas’ defensive deficiencies — and Lucas Nogueira‘s lack of strength — make Bismack Biyombo‘s absence this season all the more noticeable during Raptors games. Still, Wolstat argues, while it’s hard to put a value on talented big men like Valanciunas, you can’t just give them away without getting something substantial in return.
  • When Jared Sullinger went to the D-League for a rehab start over the weekend, he did so of his own volition, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. “I thought it was great,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “You can’t force him to go. He decided to go. He wanted to go. It was a great step.”
  • The steady growth of Avery Bradley has been invaluable for the Celtics, writes Steve Bulpett in a separate story for the Boston Herald. “Isaiah’s having a spectacular year, and I think that’s a little bit overshadowed how great of a year Avery’s having,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “[…] Listen, he is our best defensive player, and he’s our second-best offensive player. And that’s a rare combination for a player.” Bradley has been out of action since January 16 but is expected to return this week.
  • The Knicks have struggled this season but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Derek Fisher was the better head coach. The former New York bench boss recently slammed current Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek in a Lakers broadcast where he now serves as an analyst. “There’s enough analysts and reporters who like to talk about: coulda, shoulda [in] what they did,” Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We don’t pay much attention to it. I think he’s also trying to push himself in a light that maybe someone else will give him a job.”

New York Notes: Carmelo, Knicks, Fisher, Nets

After a weekend report suggested that Carmelo Anthony may be willing to waive his no-trade clause and approve a deal to the Celtics, New York media has engaged in renewed speculation about a possible trade with Boston.

However, on Monday night, Anthony evaded the question of whether the C’s would interest him, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. ‘Melo then told reporters today that he hasn’t provided the Knicks any sort of list of which teams he’d approve, and he’s still not thinking about waiving his NTC and leaving New York (link via Frank Isola of The New York Daily News). If Anthony does consider approving a deal, his family will be his first priority, he said today.

Of course, the discussion of a move to Boston may be moot, since there’s no indication that the Celtics have real interest in adding Anthony to their roster. In fact, a report last week suggested that the C’s have informed the Knicks they’re not interested. Perhaps that stance will change in the coming weeks, but for now it appears the Knicks will have to look elsewhere for a trade partner.

Here’s more from out of New York and Brooklyn:

Atlantic Notes: Fisher, Simmons, Rozier

Knicks team president Phil Jackson opened up to Charley Rosen of TodaysFastbreak.com about what went wrong in New York with former coach Derek Fisher, noting the two had markedly different philosophies on how to develop and train players. “Almost from the start, this was a difficult time for Derek. Derek did have a situation that took some focus away from his coaching during the preseason, but I never doubted that his focus was on coaching the team,” Jackson said regarding Fisher’s off the court run-in with Matt Barnes. “A divorce and coast-to-coast move with children does put pressure on a person’s life, but that’s the NBA. However, Derek did move the team forward. He was dedicated and he worked hard. The players hustled and, for the most part, stayed as positive as was possible. And Derek did manage to survive last season and to deal with the heavy pressure of the constant losing, which is probably more intense in New York than in any other NBA city.

Jackson also noted that Fisher’s inability to settle on a rotation became an issue, Rosen relays. “When I was coaching, I liked to play a lot of players and usually found a rotation of nine, 10 players to play, but it was hard for Derek to find a workable rotation,” Jackson said. “Nevertheless, the team did develop under him, and we have enough pieces in place to give us a chance to compete every night.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Ben Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft by the Sixers, noted that the league’s mandatory Rookie Transition Program was a great help to him as he kicks off his professional career, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com relays. “[I learned] a lot, from fans to financial advice, family issues, everything,” Simmons said. “Financially, that’s one of those things I’ve been looking at. I definitely want to be one of those guys who’s not in one of those statistics of not having money. So that’s big for me. You’ve got to look toward the future because you don’t play basketball forever. It’s one of those things you need to take seriously and listen.”
  • The Celtics are hoping the playoff experience that guard Terry Rozier gained this past season will help his development moving forward and allow the player to earn more minutes in the rotation, Josue Pavon of WEII 93.7 FM relays. “One of the things I said before training camp is that I’m smarter [now],” Rozier said. “I felt like I could always play, but I just feel that my opportunity came late obviously in the playoffs [last season]. I got to see that as a rookie early and it made me smarter to just see things. Then, this summer I went over a lot of things and touched on things I could do as a point guard. I think I just became smarter more than anything.”

Derek Fisher Exploring Possible Comeback

12:33pm: Begley has updated his story to add that Fisher is considering playing in China if he can’t find a suitable NBA opportunity.

11:47am: Derek Fisher made a rare leap directly from his playing career to a coaching career in 2014, when he became the Knicks’ head coach less than two weeks after playing in a postseason game for the Thunder. Now, it appears that Fisher is mulling another unusual career move.

According to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, Fisher has been “exploring options and expressing interest in playing again,” at age 41 (42 next Tuesday). Fisher himself hinted at the possibility of a comeback on Tuesday when he posted a Facebook video that showed him working out and featured the hashtag #Imnotdoneyet.

Based on Begley’s report, it’s not clear if any teams have reciprocated Fisher’s interest, or if the longtime NBA point guard has simply put out some feelers, but it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on.

There has been no shortage of former NBA players exploring potential returns to the league this year, with league-wide free agent spending at an all-time high. Fisher has a stronger case than many of those other players attempting comebacks — he was a regular contributor up until the 2013/14 season, when he averaged 17.6 minutes per game in 81 regular-season contests, then appeared in another 19 playoff games.

Assuming he’s still in good shape, Fisher could get a look from teams interested in him as much for his locker-room presence and veteran leadership as for his on-court contributions.

And-Ones: Stoudemire, Calathes, Quarterman

Amar’e Stoudemire, who announced his retirement earlier today, wanted to sign with the Suns and play one more season, but Phoenix had no interest, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 relays (via Twitter). The scribe also speculates this snub could be the reason the forward chose to retire as a Knick despite having his best seasons in a Suns uniform.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Kings are attempting to lure point guard Nick Calathes back to the U.S. for next season, international journalist David Pick reports (via Twitter). Calathes, who is under contract from the Greek club Panathinaikos, last played in the NBA during the 2014/15 campaign and is an unrestricted free agent as a result of the Grizzlies withdrawing their qualifying offer to him.
  • Tim Quarterman‘s two-year, minimum salary deal with the Trail Blazers includes a partial guarantee of $75K for the first year, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • In order to create the necessary cap space to sign Alex Abrines, the Thunder renounced their Early Bird rights to former player Derek Fisher, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets.
  • Ben Leibowitz of The Mercury News examined some of the most team-friendly player contracts in the NBA.