The New York Knicks are making changes now, in order to improve the 2016-17 season. As of Feb. 8, 2016, the Knicks have officially fired their head coach, Derek Fisher. Not only have they chosen to part ways with Fisher, but there have also been ongoing rumors about which players may be traded and brought into the franchise.
New York’s current record is 23-31 and the team is ranked 12th in the NBA Eastern Conference. They lost their fifth game in a row, which is also their ninth loss in ten games, against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 7, 2016. Though the game was close and had a final score of 101-96, the franchise decided that was the final straw after giving Fisher a second chance to improve after a failing season last year. Fisher and the Knicks went 17-65 last season. He had an overall 40-96 coaching record for New York and a winning percentage of only 29.4.
Fisher was recruited by New York’s team president and legendary NBA icon, Phil Jackson. Fisher had played under Jackson when he coached for the Los Angeles Lakers. Fisher played point guard for the Lakers from 1996-2004 and 2007-12. He also won five NBA Championships under Jackson (2000-02, 2009, and 2010). As a result, Jackson was confident that Fisher was the right candidate for the head coach position, although he had no previous head-coaching experience.
Fisher was an expensive recruit, and despite his termination, he will be guaranteed $17 million from his four-year coaching deal. He will still be compensated the rest of this year’s balance, plus over the next two years, he will receive the other $8.5 million that will be owed to him.
Jackson and the Knicks’ General Manager Steve Mills agreed that terminating Fisher will benefit the team. Kurt Rambis, who was Fisher’s assistant head coach, will be the interim head coach until further notice. Rambis also played for the LA Lakers (1981-88 and 1993-95). Additionally, he coached the Lakers when Jackson was the head coach. Rambis is a four-time NBA Champion (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) and has been coaching throughout the NBA since 1995. He has been the Knicks’ assistant head coach since 2014. There are no other announcements about any other candidates to replace Fisher. Jackson has stated that Rambis may be the only candidate and could be the answer for New York’s future.
New York has already made a statement by releasing Fisher, but the Knicks are making other changes for the upcoming 2016 season. Trade rumors are already circulating throughout the NBA community, as the Knicks will have approximately $18 million in salary cap space. There are rumors that Jackson will trade New York’s all-star, Carmelo Anthony, in order to change the entire team environment as a whole. In order to upgrade their back court, however, the Knicks are rumored to be interested in Mike Conley. Conley is currently playing for the Memphis Grizzlies as their point guard. He averages 14.6 points, 6.1 assists, three rebounds, and 1.6 steals a game. Moreover, he also averages 40 percent from the field and 35 percent beyond the three-point line. Furthermore, he averages 85 percent in free throws.
Word is Conley may replace Jose Calderon, who is the current point guard for the Knicks. The Knicks are also rumored to trade their center, Robin Lopez. Kristaps Porzingis, their power forward, may shift to center and could replace Lopez. This will make Lopez available to other teams. It is unknown whether or not these trade rumors are official, as most trading does not happen until the free agency begins towards the last week of June every year. New York has only started their transition into the new season by firing Fisher, but the league could see other decisions being made to improve the franchise for 2016.
By Tricia Manalansan
Edited by Leigh Haugh
ESPN: Derek Fisher fired by Knicks in his second season
Daily Knicks: New York Knicks: Looking ahead to the post-season
The Inquisitr: NBA Trade Rumors: New York Knicks Making Moves to Acquire Mike Conley
Image Courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License