The Los Angeles Lakers decided to eliminate Derek Fisher as a candidate for their heading coaching vacancy because they want someone with previous NBA coaching experience, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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 has also been reported as a candidate for the New York Knicks’ job. Fisher helped the Lakers win five NBA championships in the 2000s as point guard under then-coach Phil Jackson, now the Knicks’ president.
Fisher averaged 5.2 points per game for the Oklahoma City 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 Times that there is only a 50 percent chance they will hire a coach by the June 26 draft.
The team has the No. 7 overall pick and just three players under contract for next season: guards Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and center Robert Sacre.
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