OAKLAND – The firing of Derek Fisher as Knicks coach Monday morning needed about a nanosecond to travel the roughly 2,600 miles to Warriors headquarters.
That’s where it landed upon assistant coach Luke Walton, who after compiling a 39-4 record as interim head coach this season reportedly is on the list of potential replacements in New York.
“We were all joking, once we heard that news, that with the coach (Fisher) getting fired, that if Luke’s (phone) number changes next year and he’s in a different city I hope he sends me his new one,” Stephen Curry said after practice Monday.
New York is a logical destination because Knicks basketball chief Phil Jackson coached the Lakers during Walton’s playing days in Los Angeles. Walton on several occasions has noted Jackson’s influence on his decision to enter coaching as well as his style on the bench.
Hired by the Warriors shortly after Steve Kerr took over in May 2014, Walton can expect to hear from multiple teams beyond the Knicks, who have installed Kurt Rambis as interim coach. New York reportedly has interest in another former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, who also played for Jackson in LA.
The Warriors, however, have made clear at every turn that they’d like to keep Walton with the organization.
“He’s a phenomenal human being and a great coach,” Kerr said. “He showed what he’s about in my absence. The job that he did was remarkable and it opened up a lot of eyes around the league.
“He’s going to be a candidate for lots of jobs, whether it’s this year or next year or whenever. He’s going to be a head coach at some point.”
Walton will not be going anywhere in the short term, according to two sources, but will listen to interested parties after the season.