The New York Knicks got the shock of their NBA season when then head coach Derek Fisher was sent home packing. The former Los Angeles Lakers star, who worked hard to mentor Kristaps Porzingis, was fired mid-season due to the declining performance of the Carmelo Anthony team. Immediately following the decision of the New York Knicks front office to let go of Fisher, rumors of his personal life interfering with his professional obligation started to surface. However, it looks like the former head coach is now stepping out of the shadows to clear his name and the other people involved in the rumors.
"I want to make sure my voice is now heard," wrote Fisher in The Cauldron. He added, "I want to let people know that you can't just make things up and get away with it. I want to set a few things straight." Fisher, in his introduction, pointed out that the write-up aims to address the rumors regarding his tenure with the New York Knicks and the "situation" he got tangled with Matt Barnes.
Barnes and Fisher were shoved to the spotlight when a fist fight broke out earlier this NBA season. The then New York Knicks head coach was alleged to have gone to the Memphis Grizzlies star's back to court the latter's estranged wife, Gloria Goven. This led Barnes to confront Fisher - with the head coach fleeing the scene and the basketball player getting penalized by the NBA.
Eventually, rumors started to surface that the New York Knicks dismissed Fisher due to the love triangle involving him, Barnes and Goven. In his post, the former head coach clarified that his personal concerns did not play any role in the decision to let him go. While he did not specify the reason, Fisher alluded that issues in the hardwood court were the primary concern of the New York Knicks at the time.
"The reality is that NBA coaches get fired for all sorts of different reasons. Coaches that have been at it much longer than I have - and have been far more successful than I was - have been fired," he said. Fisher added, "When the organization informed me of its decision, the conversation was short. The underlying message was that things weren't working out the way they had hoped. I thanked management for the opportunity, and that was it."
The former New York Knicks head coach continued, "At no time did anyone at that meeting express to me that stories about my personal life were distracting from the collective task at hand, or - more important - that any of my players had expressed to management that they had lost confidence in me as their coach. Nothing remotely like that was ever brought up or discussed."
Fisher also insisted that regardless of the incident with Barnes, the New York Knicks stars remains "responsive" to his leadership. He also noted that none of the basketball stars in the roster doubted his integrity. Fisher further shared that his relationship with the stars were kept "good" and were, in fact, "becoming stronger."
He also took the opportunity to clarify the events that occurred which saw him in the headlines along with Barnes and Goven. Fisher explained, "First, I was stunned and disappointed by the way Gloria was treated in the media. After the much publicized (and unfortunate) situation went down in Los Angeles last year, story after story was published that portrayed her as a piece of property, instead of the strong, independent woman and mother she is; someone who is capable of making her own decisions. This is a human being we are talking about, not some pawn in a game."
Fisher also explained the "history" he has with Barnes, noting that he and the Memphis Grizzlies stars are not exactly close buddies. While he acknowledged that they worked together from 2010 to 2012, he pointed out that his relationship with Barnes does not go beyond the locker room and hardwood court.
"During that time, we were teammates, and never had any issues. We never had any real relationship off the court, either. Our kids didn't hang out, our families didn't interact. There were no birthday parties. There were no post-game dinners. We weren't friends and we had no mutual friends," Fisher explained.
Following his explanations, Fisher admitted that he still has his errors. However, he shared that the rumors smearing his reputation in the NBA should not define his legacy. Instead, he urged his fans and the members of the league to look into his years with the organization to realize his worth and the respect he deserves.
He said, "I know I'm not perfect. I'm human and flawed. I've failed. I have shortcomings. Everybody does.That being said, I've been in the NBA and the public eye for 20 years. Plenty of people know me well, and they know my true character. I would not have been allowed to lead the teams I led without the character and integrity I possess."