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Knicks make Fisher priority

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Before the New York Knicks settle on finalists for their head coach position, team president Phil Jackson wants to call his own play: Derek Fisher.

Jackson is planning to hold the hiring process until the Knicks can get an audience with Fisher, who is a reserve guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday.

Last week before Steve Kerr chose the Golden State Warriors over the Knicks, Fisher reminded media he is not yet retired.

“I would tell people to allow me to finish my career as a player before they give me another job after that. It’s humbling, just to think about people thinking of me in that manner, especially while I’m still playing. (But) I promise you this is the last thing on my mind at this point. I really haven’t thought about it that much. Hopefully there’s a lot of basketball left to be played this season for sure. Once that’s done we’ll go from there.”

Kerr delayed his decision after getting Jackson’s blessing to look into the opportunity with the Warriors. He finalized a five-year, $22 million contract to be a first-time head coach with Golden State and left the Knicks window-shopping for another candidate.

Fisher played for Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers and the 18-year veteran would be, like Kerr, hired without ever being a head coach at any level. Fisher does have intimate working knowledge of Jackson’s personality and preferences and, more important perhaps, the triangle offense he wants to employ.

Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Bill Cartwright are former head coaches who have met with Jackson during the Knicks’ waiting game.

Kurt Rambis and Luke Walton, who have their own Jackson ties, could emerge as next-tier candidates or assistant coaches. Scottie Pippen, who played for Jackson with the Chicago Bulls, discussed a position on the coaching staff as well but is not being considered as head coach.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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