NEW YORK – For two decades, Derek Fisher held his own as a relatively small man in a big man’s game, winning five NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers and even this season, at the age of 39, playing a useful role for one of the league’s top teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In addition, Fisher displayed considerable resolve in leading the players union as its president during a contentious showdown with the league that delayed the start of the 2011-12 season.
It appears Fisher will take on another challenge — coaching the New York Knicks.
A person briefed on the discussions between the Knicks and Fisher said an agreement had been reached for him to become the coach and the Knicks themselves announced there would be “a major announcement” at a Tuesday news conference at the team’s training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y.
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According to multiple reports, Fisher’s contract will be for five years and $25 million.
Coaching the Knicks will be a daunting assignment. They have not won a championship in more than 40 years and have failed to make the playoffs in nine of the last 13 seasons.
Fisher was recruited for his new assignment by Phil Jackson, the man in charge of restoring some stature to the Knicks and the person who was Fisher’s coach when he was winning all those rings in Los Angeles.
In choosing Fisher, Jackson is making his first significant move since he came aboard as president of the Knicks in March. Jackson initially reached out to Steve Kerr, who, like Fisher, played under Jackson. Kerr had gone on to be an NBA general manager with the Phoenix Suns and a TV analyst on NBA games.
Kerr seemed about to accept Jackson’s offer but when the coaching job for the Golden State Warriors suddenly opened, he opted to go there. Kerr explained it would leave him much closer to his family in California.
Thus Jackson turned to Fisher, waiting until the Thunder was eliminated from the playoffs before beginning serious talks. The Knicks fired coach Mike Woodson in April.
League fines Wade $5,000
MIAMI – Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade became the fifth recipient of a postseason flopping fine when the league ordered him to give up $5,000 after a review showed he overexaggerated a foul during Game 2 of the Finals that was charged to San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili.
Miami won 98-96 Sunday to even the best-of-seven series. The Heat hosts Game 3 on Tuesday.
• Cleveland’s search for a coach to replace the fired Mike Brown reportedly will include former Cavaliers guard Mark Price, 50, an assistant with Charlotte this season.
Sources also said Cleveland plans to bring in Alvin Gentry for a second interview.
ESPN reported the Cavaliers earlier tried to get Kentucky coach John Calipari to leave the college ranks, reportedly offering a 10-year deal for nearly $80 million that would make him coach and team president.
Without getting into specifics during a Kentucky Sports Radio interview, Calipari confirmed he was approached by NBA teams “in a hard way.”