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The NBA recently fined Phil Jackson $25,000 for tampering, since he made public comments about Derek Fisher possibly becoming the next head coach of the New York Knicks while the point guard was still under contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder and competing in the playoffs.
Now that the Thunder’s season has come to an end, it’s no surprise that Jackson and Fisher spoke about the Knicks’ opening. The two will continue to discuss this in the coming days, and likely meet face-to-face soon if Fisher is seriously considering the job.
Jackson missed out on his top candidate, Steve Kerr, when he decided to join the Golden State Warriors over the Knicks. That left Jackson scrambling, and now he’s hoping that Fisher will end his playing career after 17 NBA seasons to become a coach.
If this all sounds familiar – New York NBA team hiring a veteran point guard to coach right after his playing career ends – it’s because this is almost identical to what happened last offseason with the Brooklyn Nets and Jason Kidd, who was hired shortly after retiring from the NBA.
Fisher and Jackson have a strong relationship, and he’s someone who is familiar with the triangle offense that Jackson wants to run in New York. This is an important qualification for the Knicks’ job , which makes one wonder who Jackson will turn to if he’s not able to land Fisher.
Fisher has a number of options. Not only could he continue his playing career, he has also reportedly emerged as a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job, which could be attractive to him.
Flip Saunders says that more than half of the league has called to inquire about Kevin Love, which isn’t a huge surprise considering he’s one of the best big man in the NBA and likely on his way out of Minnesota.
Judging by Saunders’ comments about Love being able to make more money in Minnesota than anywhere else, it sounds like he’s still holding out hope that Love could have a change of heart and want to stay with the Wolves.
Some members of the Timberwolves organization were saying similar things earlier this season, brushing aside the rumors of Love being disgruntled. Those who did acknowledge that Love was unhappy were still holding out hope for a LaMarcus Aldridge-like turnaround, where they could win Love back by putting the right pieces around him and ending their playoff drought.
However, it’s sounding more and more like Love wants out of Minnesota regardless of what the Wolves do. He has reportedly told the team that he’s going to opt out and walk as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015, in an effort to speed up his exit and get traded.
The Wolves can keep their fingers crossed and choose not to make any calls about Love, but it seems that the writing is on the wall and their All-NBA power forward is leaving – one way or another.
This would be a tremendous hire for Steve Kerr, since David Blatt is widely regarded as one of the best coaches not in the NBA. Blatt is a genius offensive coach, who would really help Kerr as he makes the transition to coaching.
In the past, Blatt wasn’t interested in coming to the NBA as an assistant coach, hoping instead to get a head coaching job due to his success overseas. However, it seems he is now realizing that he may need to spend a year or two as an NBA assistant in order for those head coaching opportunities to open up for him.
“I am not sure there is anyone in the U.S. with the kind of creative efficiency or ability to change constantly like David Blatt has,” one college coach told Yahoo! Sports. “He utilizes what his players do as well as anyone I’ve ever watched.”
That’s the kind of praise that gets tossed around whenever Blatt’s name comes up. Imagine what he would be able to do with the Warriors’ offensive weapons such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. It’s easy to see why Kerr would want Blatt on his staff.
Hiring Blatt would be a home run for Kerr, and this is definitely something to keep an eye on as the negotiations progress.
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