Derek Fisher has been fired as the head coach
of the New York Knicks, the team announced Monday.
Fisher won five NBA championships as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson was Fisher’s coach for all five of those titles.
The Knicks lost their fifth straight game Sunday, 101-96 to the Nuggets, and have lost nine of their last 10 games.
“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 had started here at the beginning of the year,” Jackson said at the team’s practice facility Monday.
Fisher, who had no previous head-coaching experience, took over for Mike Woodson, who went 109-79 in parts of three seasons in New York but won only one playoff series. The Knicks currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Fisher thanked Jackson, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan and his players and staff. “This is a very talented team with strong character and I am confident they will succeed,” Fisher said in a statement. “Obviously, I’m disappointed, but have learned an immense amount from this experience and hope to grow from it.”
Jackson said that he and general manager Steve Mills made the final decision on firing Fisher. As is common when a major personnel decision is made, Jackson consulted Dolan, who signed off on Jackson’s decision. Fisher was guaranteed $17 million on his four-year deal. He is owed the balance of this year plus $8.5 million over the next two years, a source told Windhorst.
Jackson said Fisher was prepared, and he instilled some mental toughness into the team.
“Some of the onus is on the players,” Jackson said. “It’s a lot easier to fire a coach than 15 players. Unfortunately, it’s not always the coach.”
Jackson did say that adding veteran assistant coaches to Fisher’s staff helped; however, he didn’t think everyone was on the same page.
“There wasn’t really a consensus in our staff,” he said.
The New York Knicks fired Fisher midway through his second season.
The Knicks made the decision Monday. They have fallen to 23-31, well back in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Fisher’s firing was first reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Ian Begley