By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com
SAN ANTONIO – Derek Fisher says his intention remains to retire at the end of the season. His future beyond that in basketball? He’s not saying.
Since TNT analyst Steve Kerr turned down Phil Jackson‘s offer to coach the New York Knicks to instead lead the Golden State Warriors, Fisher’s name has reportedly risen to the top of Jackson’s wish list. And, of course, there’s still that vacancy in Los Angeles with Fisher’s former club, the Lakers, where his longtime championship buddy Kobe Bryant will enter the first of a two-year contract next season.
“I’m still kind of sticking with that for now,” Fisher, 39, said of retiring whenever the Oklahoma City Thunder’s season comes to an end. “I put it out there at the beginning and that’s what I’m sticking with until we finish up with what we’re trying to do right now. I’m not spending a lot of time on thinking about what’s next. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to these guys. We have to figure out how to beat the Spurs.”
Fisher, in his 18th NBA season and third postseason with Oklahoma City, said he spoke to Jackson after he took over as the Knicks’ president in March, but he said he has not spoken with him since.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Fisher wouldn’t make a good coach, “he will make a great head coach.”
But does Fisher, the former president of the players’ association, even harbor a desire to follow Jason Kidd, who walked off the floor a year ago as a player to become coach of the Brooklyn Nets? As Fisher walked out of the Thunder’s Monday shootaround on the morning of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, he straddled the fence on the coaching question.
“Right now it’s just tough to wrap my mind around anything other than playing basketball,” Fisher said. “I’ve been doing this for a very long time and to think about every week or two, there’s a chance it could be my last week.
“So, that part in itself is tough enough and like I said, until I’m done helping my team this year, I’m not spending a lot of time [thinking about the future].”
Fisher, who turns 40 in August, played in 81 games this season and averaged 5.2 ppg while shooting 38.4 percent from beyond the arc. In 13 playoff games, he’s averaging 13.6 mpg and 3.0 ppg — he’s just 12-for-44 from 3-point territory.