This Week In Knicksland

So much intrigue is happening now that the Knicks have hung them up for the season. This weekly series is here to help you keep track of it all. 

The character we’ve suspected for weeks to be the favorite finally emerged from the pack as the next Knicks head coach, amid leadership praise and “Fish” newspaper puns. Phil got his man, but now the Zen Master and his new hire turn to Carmelo and implore him to stick around at least one more year and re-assess his situation after next season. In all likelihood, however, that won’t be the case. 

1. Go Fish

On Monday night the news was reported that Derek Fisher was to be named the next head coach of the Knicks.

At the Rangers game that night (the news already out), Phil Jackson was asked if he was narrowing down his coaching search, to which Phil responded “Go Fish”.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Derek Fisher was announced as the next head coach of the New York Knicks.

Thus ends that chapter of speculation and vacancy that lasted since April 21st when Mike Woodson was fired. Welcome to the Derek Fisher era.

2. What Else He Said

So far after the press conference, Coach Fish has already started doing interviews and sit-downs (in addition to calling or texting every Knick personally).

Interview with Michael Kay (audio)

  • Thinks last year’s team could have been 8-10 wins better than they were, that “the devil is in the details”
  • Has no problem with Phil being a “hands on executive”.
  • Wants Carmelo to come back and remain “a part of what we’re trying to do here”. Wants to respect his privacy and his decisions.
  • Zero trepidation about accepting a job where James Dolan is the boss. Dealt primarily with Phil so far.
  • Leaning towards implementing the triangle offense, thinks Carmelo can thrive in it

Sitdown with Jonah Ballow (vide0)

  • Thinks that coaching has evolved – needs strategy and discipline, but also need strong relationships with players.
  • Learned to deal with egos and diffuse situations from playing with Kobe, Shaq, Durant, and Westbrook
  • Believes that the triangle translates well to “today’s game”. Thinks that a lot of it exists under different names.
  • Hopeful that New York is the place where Carmelo has to be with the addition of Phil Jackson and himself.

3. What Others Said

Fisher has gotten almost universal praise as a leader and basketball mind.

The Knicks:

 -Amar’e wants discipline from Fisher and for Fisher to “put his foot down” to set a professional tone.

-Carmelo has yet to comment on the Fisher hire. Not surprising considering he’s not sure what his future with the team will be yet. That, and he’s never been the best “statesmen” on these matters.

-Tim Hardaway Jr. is excited for the hire:

Screenshot 2014-06-12 23.54.06

(via THJ’s Instagram )

Around the League:

-Gregg Poppovich gave him his blessing, saying “there’s no reason why he can’t be really successful

-We knew Kevin Durant thought Fisher would be great. After the hire, Durant tweeted congratulations to Derek Fisher. So did Bill Clinton, citing their Arkansas to NY shared connection.

-Shane Battier thinks Fisher “will do well” in his new role, citing the trend of younger coaches having more success

-A source close to the Thunder is a little worried about Fisher potentially giving long-winded speeches too often that will lose the players’ interest/attention.

4. Melo’s Big Decision

Melo does not need to let the Knicks know whether he will op-in for his final year or opt-out of his contract until June 23rd. But now that a head coach is in place, sources say the Knicks top brass will talk to Carmelo in the last ten days before his decision. Phil has said he will advise Carmelo to opt-in for another year.

 Frank Isola believes that, at this dinner meeting,  Carmelo will be telling Phil & Co. that he will be opting out and exploring free-agency. This should come as no surprise – he said as early as November of this past season that he wanted to do so.

Meanwhile, rumors and rumblings in South Beach that he could join his ‘03 draftmates on the Heat either this summer or next.

There are those that think that this is just speculation and a talking point for media members, and then there are those that believe that this wouldn’t be a storyline if the parties involved were not at least considering it. It makes no matter, however: we’ll find out for sure in due time. In the mean time, there are speculative photoshop images:

via Mike King


5. Trade & Draft Rumblings

While Fisher assumes the throne and Melo ponders his future, tinier basketball things have been happening for the Knicks.

-The Knicks have been working out several players despite not having a pick in either round of the upcoming draft. Should any of those players go undrafted, the Knicks would be eligible to sign them. The list of players that have worked out for Phil Jackson includes Deandre Kane of Iowa State, Patric Young of Florida, and P.J. Hairston, formerly of North Carolina.

-Or will the Knicks have a pick? Rumors abound that the Thunder and Knicks are considering swapping Iman Shumpert for one of OKC’s 2 first round draft picks.


-Amar’e still on the book promoting trail again, this week appearing on the Today Show

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–Lamar Odom (currently working out for the Knicks but not guaranteed a spot yet for this season) could serve as a good bridge between the players and coach Fisher, his former teammate on Phil’s championship Lakers.