Mike Vaccaro: ‘Derek Fisher Is Phil’s Kind Of Guy’

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LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 23: Head Coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Derek Fisher #2 during the NBA game against the Seattle Sonics at Staples Center on February 23, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 106 - 101.

Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher (R) (Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Derek Fisher has agreed to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks and, as a result, will receive $25 million over the next five years.

My, that’s not exactly a terrible landing spot when your primary career ends.

“It’s amazing, John,” New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro said on The John Feinstein Show. “He played 18 years, Derek Fisher did, and in only four of those years did he make more money than he’s going to make s a coach. That’s not exactly the usual career path for a basketball player, but good for him. I guess it’s good work if you can find it.”

Fisher found it. In fact, he’ll become the second New York-area coach in as many years to go straight from a uniform to a suit, as Jason Kidd did the same thing with Brooklyn in 2013.

Vaccaro expects this trend to continue, especially with recent hirings like Steve Kerr in Golden State.

“I know Steve Kerr had some time in between his playing career and what he’s doing now, but he’s also a guy that’s never coached a day in his life,” Vaccaro said.

“I guess the new job requirements have been altered, probably permanently, for what guys are looking for with the coaches now.”

Fisher, in many ways, is a perfect fit for Jackson. He won five titles while running the triangle offense and doesn’t have a big ego, which will allow Jackson to almost be the de facto coach.

“To (Jackson’s) credit, he’s never been anything less than honest about this,” Vaccaro said. “From day one, he talked about how he’s a system guy. He never hid the fact that he certainly respects the triangle and would like to get somebody who shares his own philosophy. There’s a lot of guys on the market who have a lot of NBA victories that he was not going to have a conversation with because he wanted his own guy – literally his own guy. And he got it.”

Fisher may even be a better fit than Kerr, who also experienced championship success under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. Thus, Kerr knows that multiple systems can lead to NBA titles, whereas Fisher is more likely to stick with the tried and true.

The money isn’t bad, either.

“For $5 million a year, I’d be willing to listen to what Phil had to say, too,” Vaccaro said. “This is Phil’s kind of guy. It’s going to be a guy who Phil knew, trusted sand worked closely with.”

But what now for Carmelo Anthony? Jackson has stated he wants Anthony to sign for a hometown discount, but will he?

“Carmelo does seem like the kind of guy who understands legacy, who understands that Phil Jackson didn’t just show up in this league,” Vaccaro said. “That said, I think it’s interesting that Phil Jackson got paid every cent. Derek Fisher got paid every cent. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Phil is able to convince Carmelo Anthony to not take every cent, especially since right now that’s the thing the Knicks have over every other team – they can pay him more than any other team. All of that makes you wonder if Phil (isn’t opposed) to starting over and putting it all on his watch.”

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