Derek Fisher was not going to make the same mistake twice.
The new head coach of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks was GM Penny Toler's first and only choice, but before Fisher could accept the position, he had "about 2,000 questions" for her, Toler said at Fisher's press conference on Friday.
And for good reason: The 44-year-old did not want to put himself in the same position as he did with the Knicks in 2014.
"What I learned is, if there is not clarity in purpose, vision and mission from ownership to management to coaches to players to staff, it doesn't work," Fisher said, per the Associated Press. "Some of the basketball things are irrelevant if ownership, management, staff, players, if we are not aligned in the way we see going about our jobs and achieving our purpose and our mission."
Fisher failed to make it through two seasons as head coach of the Knicks, fired midway through the 2016 season with a 40-96 record during his tenure.
He admitted last month that he would not have taken the Knicks job if he knew ahead of time that team president Phil Jackson wanted him to run the triangle offense.
"Had he said, 'Hey, Fish, you have to run the triangle. There's no way around it. If you're not going to do that, it's going to be an issue and maybe we need to go in a different direction,'" Fisher told FS1, according to ESPN's Ian Begley. "... Those weren't conversations that we had. So our communication wasn't effective that (would have) allowed us to both go into the situation knowing this is what it's going to be."
While Fisher has not coached at any professional level since he was fired from the Knicks, he does not view his new role as a "step down" nor as a window to get back into the NBA.
"This opportunity is not a step down, sideways, backwards, somehow different than the men's game," Fisher said. "There isn't a future outside of what we're here to talk about today."
Fisher inherits a Sparks team that is 19-15 and has former league MVP, Candace Parker.