Derek Fisher had just finished a long playing career when Phil Jackson picked him to coach the New York Knicks. Just 1 1/2 seasons later, Jackson decided he needed someone else.
Fisher was fired Monday, with his team having lost five straight and nine of 10 to fall well back in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"It's time for us to make a change, turn this team around and move forward and get some wins and keep going down the road we had started here at the beginning of the year," Jackson said at the team's practice facility.
Associate head coach Kurt Rambis was promoted to interim head coach at least through the rest of the season. Rambis, like Fisher an ex-Laker player and a former assistant under Jackson, went 32-132 as Minnesota's coach from 2009-11.
He'll take over the reigns for the first time Tuesday night when New York takes on the struggling Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks have fallen to 23-31, dropping Fisher's overall record to 40-96. Jackson hired Fisher in June 2014, just weeks after Fisher was done playing.
"It's a huge transition from being a player to a coach at any point in time, let alone the season after you retire from playing," Rambis said. "I think he was laying the foundation of doing things the right way and turning this franchise around."
But Fisher wasn't winning lately, and though Jackson praised his work ethic, he had seen enough of the Knicks' slow starts and faulty finishes. The Knicks went 17-65 last season but upgraded their roster during the summer with the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis and the signing of veterans Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez.
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