New York Knicks

Now that Derek Fisher is out in the Big Apple, we look at the 5 most likely candidates to become the next long term head coach of the New York Knicks.

By Skylar Darel

News broke on Monday morning that the New York Knicks have fired head coach Derek Fisher after one and a half seasons at the helm of the Knicks, as first reported by ESPN.

The Knicks have promoted Kurt Rambis to serve as interim head coach, but will be looking to find a new, more permanent candidate as the season progresses.

Here are five candidates that could replace Fisher as head coach. The top 2 most likely, though, are:

1. Luke Walton

2. Brian Shaw

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton and former Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw are the favorites to land the Knicks job.

Walton in particular is a hot candidate, especially after leading the Warriors to a 39-4 record while Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery. While some may argue that Walton’s success came as a result of having the best player and roster in the NBA, one cannot discount the degree of difficulty it takes to lead a team to the best start in NBA history. Walton is a prime candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers, as well. Given his relationship with Phil Jackson, Walton figures to be a key player in the race.

However, Walton looks determined to see out the season in Golden State.

Shaw spent time as an assistant for the Lakers, Indiana Pacers, and the Nuggets, before eventually taking over for George Karl in Denver. Like Derek Fisher, he only lasted a year and a half in Denver, before being fired halfway through the 2014-15 season. Denver missed the playoffs in both seasons that Shaw featured as head coach.

Neither of these names are particularly sexy. While Shaw didn’t have the best roster to work with in Denver, he still struggled mightily. Walton is young and has a lot of upside as a head coach, and had perhaps the best dress rehearsal of all time with Golden State. However, there will almost certainly be doubts about his ability to thrive as a head coach without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Next up:

3. Tom Thibodeau

The fan favorite to take the job. Thibs, according to multiple sources, wants the Knicks job pretty badly.

Thibodeau also is a big fan of Knicks star man Carmelo Anthony, which could help his case for getting hired.

Thibodeau served as an assistant for the Knicks under Jeff van Gundy from 1996-2004. He also served as an assistant in Houston and Boston, before taking over as head coach of the Chicago Bulls. He tied an NBA record for most wins as a rookie head coach with 62 in 2011, a year where he also took home Coach of the Year honors. In 5 seasons as Chicago’s head coach, he went 255-139, making the playoffs in all five seasons. That run included two division titles, and two top seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Thibodeau is known as one of the best defensive minds in the NBA. According to ESPN, “Thibodeau’s defensive system is the pinnacle of team defensive strategy in the NBA.” Jeff van Gundy, however, hired Thibs for his innovative offensive sets and player development ability. As a no-nonsense head coach, he could lay down some effective regimentation for a young Knicks team, as well as improve them defensively.


4. Mark Jackson: The former Knicks point guard and Golden State Warriors coach was solid in Oakland. However, he works best with point guards, like Stephen Curry, and the Knicks don’t really have an elite point guard. He could work wonders for Jerian Grant, but do the Knicks really want to hire a head coach to help out their mid-first round pick?

5. Jeff van Gundy: Total long shot, but van Gundy was beloved and wildly successful for the Knicks. He appears, however, to be content working as an analyst for ESPN.

Staff Writer at Elite Sports New York. Lead Writer at New York Sports Hub and My Weekly Sports. Twitter, instagram: @skylardarel. Avid fan of the Yankees, Knicks, Giants, New York City FC, FC Barcelona, and Arsenal FC. Sophomore at the College of New Jersey, studying Communication. Aspiring play-by-play commentator. Grew up in Manhattan, and proud to know how to work the Subway system.