OKLAHOMA CITY – All the Oklahoma City players had left the floor late Saturday except one: Derek Fisher. Knowing he might have just played the final game in his 17-year NBA career, Fisher lingered on the court.
"Just understanding the moment, just understanding that it's possible that it could be the last time I walk off the court as a player," Fisher said after the Thunder were eliminated with a 112-107 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.
Fisher has been projected as a coaching candidate with his former team in the Los Angeles Lakers and with his former coach with the New York Knicks. The Lakers and Knicks could move forward with any plans to interview him now that the Thunder's season has ended. Fisher said he has not directly talked to Knicks president Phil Jackson, who coached him with the Lakers, or any other NBA executive. Jackson told New York media members last Friday that he had not spoken to Fisher.
After Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks' coaching job to go to the Golden State Warriors, one NBA source said New York would likely stop its search until Fisher was available. The Lakers have already interviewed several coach candidates.
Fisher said he doesn't plan on taking long to determine his next step and will talk to his wife and kids first before making any decision. He does expect to have some conversations about coaching.
"Obviously, there are a number of people that are going to be impacted by the decision I do make whether I continue to play or [if] I decide to do something else within the game," Fisher said. "Whatever it is, there is a lot at stake. I'm not going to rush. I'm not going to be emotional.
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"Right now there is a lot of emotion. As soon as possible, I'm going to try to take the best next steps."
Fisher was the 24th pick in the 1996 NBA draft and was never an All-Star. But his career included five NBA championships – all with the Lakers – 1,287 regular season games played, an NBA-record 255 playoff games played and lots of clutch shots.
Fisher finished with five points, six rebounds and one assist off the bench in 32 minutes in what could have been his last game. He will be a free agent this summer and thanked the Thunder for keeping his career alive.
"It's possible that this does symbolize the end of a truly long career," Fisher said. "I don't think based on the emotions that I'm feeling right now that it's smart to start betting on what I will do next.
"I'm going to definitely take it seriously, and like I've always tried to do with everything in life, consider my options, consider what's best and then go from there. And I will try to do that as soon as possible so all parties involved can make the decisions that need to be made."