Knicks hire Fisher as coach in bid to end title drought
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Derek Fisher was named head coach of the New York Knicks on Tuesday in one of the first major moves in a makeover of the once-proud National Basketball Association franchise by team president Phil Jackson.
A five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, while Jackson was the coach, during his 18-year playing career, Fisher takes over from Mike Woodson, who was fired in April.
"For Phil and the history we have together, to have the opportunity to now work together again is extremely exciting," Fisher said at the team's training facility. "I'm so thankful for this opportunity."
Fisher, 39, will shift from playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder to steering a Knicks team that went 37-45 during the 2013-14 season and missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.
Jackson, a former Knicks player who won a record 11 NBA titles as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Lakers, was hired in March to turn the team around and wiped the slate clean by firing Woodson and his staff when the regular season ended.
The Knicks last won an NBA title in 1973, when Jackson played for the New York team as a defensive minded forward.
Jackson had first courted his former Bulls player Steve Kerr to become coach, but he ended up accepting the head coaching job with the Golden State Warriors.
Jackson next targeted Fisher, and was fined $25,000 by the league for tampering when he mentioned him as a candidate while Fisher was playing for the Thunder in the 2014 playoffs. Continued...