Report: Luke Walton and Brian Shaw top Knicks’ candidates to replace Derek Fisher
Out: Derek Fisher.
In: Kurt Rambis.
That’s only the first step of the Knicks’ coaching change.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Kurt Rambis is Knicks interim coach but league sources believe Brian Shaw and Luke Walton are top long-term replacement candidates— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 8, 2016
Of course, Luke Walton and Brian Shaw – like Fisher and the other top candidate in 2014, Steve Kerr – played for Phil Jackson. The Knicks president has a type, one that includes both good and bad candidates.
The good: Walton. He impressed with his handling of the Warriors in Steve Kerr’s absence. He’s one of the hottest coaches on the market. I have some doubts, given Kerr’s and Golden State’s players’ influence. But Walton has done plenty right to be in this position.
The bad: Shaw. Jackson reportedly preferred Shaw to Fisher two years ago, but Shaw was under contract with the Nuggets. Denver since fired him, because he did a stunningly awful job connecting with his players. Perhaps, he has grown in that area since, though.
It seems inevitable Tom Thibodeau’s name will come up. The former Bulls coach isn’t a Phil Jackson disciple, but he previously worked as a Knicks assistant. Maybe his New York connection will allow Thibodeau to overcome his lack of a Jackson tie.
A direct connection to Jackson clearly puts someone on the fast track for this job.