NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony speak at the Rising Stars Challenge.
TORONTO â€” Firing Derek Fisher couldnâ€™t have helped New Yorkâ€™s slimming chances of landing the big fish in the free agency pond.
Kevin Durant said he was â€œshockedâ€ when he learned the Knicks canned his former teammate on Monday, and then called Fisher for a pep talk.
â€œI talked to Fish,” Durant said. â€œI just told him I love him, man. He knows the business. Everybody knows the business. People go through all the time. I told him he did a great job and know he can walk away from that job at peace, knowing that he gave it 110 percent.”
When running down the list of why Durant would consider the Knicks, Fisher, who played with the Thunder two seasons ago, was always near the top. Fisher even brought two young assistants to New York from Oklahoma Cityâ€™s staff â€” Brian Keefe and Joshua Longstaff â€” who remain with the Knicks.
Fisher had two-and-a-half years remaining on his deal when he was fired with a 40-96 record as New Yorkâ€™s coach.
â€œI was shocked,” Durant said. â€œI thought he was doing a great job. Melo missed (seven) games. Itâ€™s tough losing your best player. I thought he was doing a great job, man.
â€œThis league, it donâ€™t matter what your record is nowadays. You still get fired. I donâ€™t know whoâ€™s doing deep in the organization and internally. But record doesnâ€™t matter anymore if youâ€™re a coach. Iâ€™m sure these guys who get fired and have great records walk away knowing they did the best job that they could do. But Fish did a great job. Itâ€™s tough to turn an organization around in a year-and-a-half. So he did the best he could do and Iâ€™m sure he walked out with a lot of peace.”
Durant added that he desires stability from the organization he chooses â€” not a selling point for the Knicks â€” but believes thatâ€™s something he can create with just his presence.
â€œWhen you get an opportunity to kind of choose your environment, no matter who you are, you always want to be stable, you always want to have good people around you and you always want to work with great people,â€ Durant said.
MR. BIG SHOT: Carmelo Anthony was named vice president of the NBA Players Association on Friday, joining buddies Chris Paul and LeBron James on the executive committee.
Before the announcement, Anthony addressed the potential for another lockout in 2017 when the players are certain to opt out of the current CBA.
â€œI hope we can come to an agreement sooner rather than later,â€ he said. â€œWe donâ€™t want another strike. We donâ€™t want to do that. But we just got to sit down at a table. Now itâ€™s talking about more important issues than what we were talking about in the past.â€
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