The New York Knicks fired head coach Derek Fisher on Monday after a 40-96 during his nearly one-and-a-half seasons with the team. The move came as a bit of an abrupt surprise to many as Fisher has a very personal history with team president Phil Jackson. Jackson and Fisher enjoyed a coaching-point guard relationship, respectively, with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999-2004 and 2007-2011.
“It’s time for us to make a change, turn this team around and move forward and get some wins and keep going down the road we started here at the beginning of the year,” said team president Phil Jackson. “Someone has to match the style of the way we do things, and there’s a certain style that I have that I think works and I’ve found worked before.”
With Kurt Rambis filling the current head coaching void, the following list of ex-NBA head coaches serve as the most logical replacements for the slumping Knicks.
David Blatt: The Knicks are in need of a quick turnaround as they look no further than a man who has experience with just that: David Blatt. Blatt was able to take a reloaded Cleveland Cavaliers and bring them to within a few games of an NBA title. Blatt also has experience, albeit limited, with managing superstars as he would have to transition from LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony.
Kevin McHale: With a career coaching record of 232-185, has established himself as a proven winner that would bring an old-school attitude back to the Knicks. McHale would also be able to further improve an already dominate Kristaps Porzingis as he could infuse a similar toughness and dominance that he himself played with a few decades prior.
Brian Shaw: Jackson and Brian Shaw shared the coach-player connection from 1999-2011 so familiarity is definitely there. He does have an obvious knowledge with Phil Jackson’s triangle offense which means the team’s philosophy would be in sync. Plus, Shaw has nearly two seasons of head coaching experience.
Luke Walton: Like Shaw, Luke Walton also has ties to Jackson as the coach-player connection was evident through 2003-2011. The interesting tidbit with Walton is that he already has experience with coaching the Golden State Warriors on an interim-level this season as he was already named the NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month back in November. With Walton being the most recent to coach at a successful level.
It will be interesting to see how former connections, winning percentage, or past coaching experience will influence Phil Jackson’s decision in hiring the next coach for The New York Knicks.