LOS ANGELES--The Los Angeles Lakers have decided they need a coach with previous NBA coaching experience, which means one thing for Derek Fisher: He isn't a candidate.
The Lakers think Fisher will be a solid NBA coach or executive at some point, but their initial curiosity about him has been replaced by a desire for actual experience, the latest turn in a deliberately slow coaching search approaching the six-week mark.
Fisher, however, has been mentioned as a candidate to fill New York's coaching vacancy, which would reunite him with Knicks team President Phil Jackson. Fisher will be 40 in August and still hasn't decided whether to retire as a player after averaging 5.2 points this season for Oklahoma City.
Fisher was part of five championships over two tours with the Lakers as a player.
The Lakers have interviewed five coaches in person: Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Lionel Hollins, Alvin Gentry and Mike Dunleavy.
Gentry, currently a Clippers assistant coach, is meeting with Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert on Monday in a second interview with the franchise.
The Lakers' decision to go with an experienced NBA coach also officially ends their brief thought of interviewing a college coach. The team was open to many scenarios after Mike D'Antoni resigned in April, including talking to Roy Williams and John Calipari, but a college coach is no longer an option.
The Lakers currently have no interviews scheduled for the early part of next week and there is only a 50-50 chance they hire a coach by the June 26 draft, according to a person familiar with the situation.
They own the seventh pick in the draft and then enter free agency a handful of days later with only three players under contract (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre).
(Staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.)
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