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Report: Knicks expect to have deal with Fisher

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The New York Knicks are expected to have a deal in place to make Derek Fisher their new head coach, ESPN.com reported Monday.

With one team bowed out of the Fisher sweepstakes, the Knicks are increasing their push to hire the active backup guard to become a first-time head coach.

The Los Angeles Lakers pulled out of the Fisher hunt, while the Knicks professed their ongoing push with the one-time Phil Jackson pupil as a top priority.

The Lakers think highly of Fisher and believe he will be a good NBA coach or executive in the future but changed course in their methodical search to replace Mike D’Antoni, who stepped down at the end of the season.

Fisher helped the Lakers win five NBA championships in the 2000s as point guard under then-coach Jackson, now the Knicks’ president. Jackson was fined $25,000 by the NBA for tampering for discussing Fisher while he was still active in the postseason with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Fisher averaged 5.2 points per game for the Thunder this season. He will be 40 in August but has not made a decision about whether he will retire or play another season. He recently expressed a desire to coach at some point in the future.

The Lakers have interviewed Mike Dunleavy, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins, Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott for the coaching job. Gentry, a Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach, is scheduled to meet with the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second interview on Monday.

Since the Lakers are now only looking for someone with previous NBA experience, they are no longer interested in college coaches. They did reportedly speak with North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Kentucky coach John Calipari earlier.

The Lakers have no interviews scheduled for the next few days and a source told the Los Angeles Times that there is only a 50 percent chance they will hire a coach by the June 26 draft.

The Knicks do not have a first-round pick and are strapped by big spending in recent offseasons unless star forward Carmelo Anthony, likely to receive a maximum-level deal or just below, is willing to take slightly less to stick around for what could be a rebuild.

The Lakers have the No. 7 overall pick and just three players under contract for next season: guards Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and center Robert Sacre.

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

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