Derek Fisher impressed me yesterday. Fisher wasn't-- and probably won't be-- quite as frank as Phil Jackson is when he speaks to the media, but he managed to give thoughtful, confident responses to prying questions, including ones he couldn't fully answer. MMiranda summed the press conference up nicely, so I'll just pass along a few lingering takeaways of my own, plus some follow-up links you might like to see.
- Howard Beck has some stuff on the Fisher-Jackson dynamic to come, plus some vague details on Fisher's contract, which still doesn't matter, yet isn't as substantial as it originally sounded:
A quick note on that contract: It is not quite as generous as has been widely reported. Although it could be worth $25 million over five years, the deal includes a number of team options, as well as potential bonuses, according to a league source. Fisher's first-year salary is closer to $4 million.
- More good quotes in here about how that still-undefined Fisher-Jackson relationship could shake out, plus a bit about Kurt Rambis and a bit about the possibility of Fisher coaching Summer League himself just to get his feet wet.
- I thought Michael Kay's interview with Fisher yesterday afternoon was fantastic. Fisher continued to make it very clear that James Dolan has been as far away from this process as possible. Everyone tried to make a point of that Tuesday as well. Howard Megdal asked Fisher a good question about his relationship with Dolan (the two spent a lot of time in the same room during the lockout) and Fisher insisted they don't have much of a relationship at all and that they hadn't spoken at all during the courtship. Steve Mills added that he and Dolan had attended Game 3 of the Rangers series together and hadn't discussed Fisher at all, which is comically extreme, but I can get down with that kind of comically extreme. The Knicks really want us to recognize that Jackson is working on his own.
- In his sit-down with Jonah Ballow, Fisher reiterated the value of his having been a role player, not a star. The message is that a couple decades spent competing as someone less athletically gifted than his peers forced Fisher to master things like spacing, angles, and defensive positioning. Anyone could say that, but it's still nice to hear. Dude is convincing. He sounds like a coach.
- I kind of like that the Knicks hired a young guy because it only underscores Jackson's role as Knicks Dad. His line Tuesday about players not listening to the Grateful Dead anymore and Fisher being "hip-hop ready" to connect with this generation of players turned everyone on the stage into an eye-rolling pre-teen for a second.
- Fisher, in every interview, echoed Jackson's sentiment that the Knicks want to keep Melo, but they won't beg him to stay, and they'll be ready if he goes. He's gonna wear those rings to the meeting, though.
- It's obviously obsolete now, but I want to make sure everyone has seen my favorite Knicks news article of all time.
- Nice piece on Fisher's daughter, doing fine years after surviving a rare and life-threatening eye condition.
Was told that new Knicks coach Derek Fisher has reached out to each member of the team, either via text or by phone call, earlier today.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) June 11, 2014
- The wonderful Devin Kharpertian just sat through a full season watching a coach who stepped straight out of his sneakers into a high-profile job, and he's got some advice for Fisher. No facial hair, Fish. Shave please.
- Again, Fisher's salary doesn't matter and it's less than we once thought, but Tom Ziller's piece on how the lockout made it so teams just blow all their cash on staff instead of players is interesting.
- netw3rk on the Phil-ishness of Fisher and his staff-to-be-hired and how that extreme level of closeness and trust might be just right for the setting.
More to come! Have a lovely Wednesday.