During his second stint coaching the Lakers, Jackson was known to have proposed a scenario in which he would coach home games and Rambis, his trusted assistant, would coach road games. The Lakers never seriously considered accepting such an unorthodox approach, but hiring a young coach now to take over for the fired Mike Woodson would theoretically allow Jackson to create a modified version of that arrangement in which he maintains an occasional coaching presence with his new team while running its basketball operations.
In the news conference Friday, Jackson acknowledged that Fisher is "a person that's on my list of guys that could be very good candidates for this job."
"There's for sure huge layers added to [the decision]," Fisher said Sunday. "The personal relationship and professional relationship that I've had with Phil Jackson over the years, and being in the position that he's in. And also, with the Lakers having an opening, it for sure adds layers to it. But like other important decisions in life, I don't think you can be driven by what's going on externally. You have to have an internal set of boundaries and just kind of a compass that you make decisions by. I'll combine all those things as I try and make the best decision possible."
Fisher continued: "In the last maybe decade or so, I've really felt like my purpose in life, my calling so to speak, was to be in a leadership position or some position of impact on other people. Coaching allows for you to positively impact other people's lives. To help a group of people find success, whether they have or haven't before, you're all working together for a common goal. ... There's a love for helping other people that exists for me, and not playing anymore, if that's what it's to be, coaching or being in the front office, or being in a role where you can positively impact others and work to reach a common goal, that's exciting to me."
ESPN.com reported recently that Jackson has discussed the vacancy with Dunleavy and hasn't fully ruled out a sit-down with Knicks fan favorite Mark Jackson, who has rejoined ESPN as a broadcaster after his dismissal by the Warriors. Yet sources maintain that Phil Jackson wants to hire a young coach he can mold and mentor and who won't be put off by his hands-on presence early on.
Rambis, who worked as an assistant to the ousted Mike D'Antoni with the Lakers last season, and current D-League developmental coach Luke Walton of the L.A. D-Fenders are on Jackson's short list as well. But sources say Rambis and Walton are more likely regarded as potential assistants for the eventual coach, with another of Jackson's former players with head-coaching experience -- Bill Cartwright -- having already received an interview for what was presumed to be a spot on Kerr's bench.
Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue, who played briefly under Jackson as a Laker and has interviewed for the Cleveland Cavaliers' coaching vacancy, has also been mentioned repeatedly as a name on Jackson's radar.
Jackson confirmed last week that the Knicks were convinced they were on the brink of a deal with Kerr when Stan Van Gundy unexpectedly took the Detroit Pistons' offer to serve as their coach and team president. That led to Golden State making a renewed pitch to Kerr, which ultimately trumped New York's offer.