Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks cut ties with head coach Derek Fisher on Monday, following a Knicks losing spree, with the team winning only one game of their last 10. Although Phil Jackson indicated that the October altercation involving Fisher and Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes had nothing to do with his firing – although it was embarrassing – it seems as if Fish may have lost the team because of it.
In one of Matt Barnes rants on the DFish situation, he indicated that many players were on his side, and felt Fisher had broken code by hooking up with Matt’s estranged wife, Gloria Govan. Yahoo NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski has confirmed that Barnes was telling the truth. Several players felt Fisher’s moves were indicative of a player than the head coach, and ultimately lost respect for him.
As a young NBA coach, the fastest path to losing a locker room comes this way: Behave like a player. To fly to California and visit a girlfriend in the middle of the New York Knicks’ training camp – engaging Matt Barnes in a Tom-and-Jerry tussle-and-chase – cost Derek Fisher dearly. Fisher lost the moral high ground inside Madison Square Garden, lost a measure of gravitas as a leader of men.
The embarrassment of his unfilmed “Real Housewives” episode didn’t cost Fisher his job as Knicks coach, but it did start him on a slippery slope toward his firing on Monday. That October weekend odyssey was Fisher’s choice, and the blame for it all – including the failure to return to New York in time to conduct a Knicks practice – belongs to him.
Time will tell if Derek lands another head coaching role, in the meantime he better watch for the next “Matt Barnes fade.” The Grizzlies’ forward promised there would be one, and considering their complicated family ties, I’d say another face-to-face is likely to happen.
Matt’s Instagram post on Monday after the news broke said it all.