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Durant: Fisher will do 'great job'

Kevin Durant said Tuesday that teammate Derek Fisher has all the attributes to make a good NBA coach, if that's the path his Oklahoma City Thunder teammate chooses after this season.

"Without a doubt. He's a smart guy, smart mind. He's a great motivator, great speaker and can really relate to a lot of guys and demands that respect from everybody," Durant told the New York Post. "He's a great locker room guy. I'm sure he'll do a great job."

Thunder forward Nick Collison also endorsed Fisher, saying he would make a "great" coach and lauding the veteran point guard for his leadership skills.

"He's unique, one-of-a-kind. The only guy I ever played with who can address the team in a way as a leader. He's able to address the team more so than anybody I played with, and he backs it up on the court, too," he told the newspaper.

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson wants to talk to Fisher about his team's coaching vacancy after being spurned by his top choice, Steve Kerr, who took the Golden State Warriors' coaching job instead. Jackson's priority is to find a young coach he can mentor, similar to the way Pat Riley mentored Erik Spoelstra in Miami, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne. And he'd prefer to hire a coach who has a strong knowledge of the triangle offense.

Fisher, 39, fits both descriptions well. He was a key piece on Jackson's teams in Los Angeles that won five NBA titles. Fisher said Monday that he's flattered that his name has been mentioned as a candidate for the Knicks' job but said he's focused on the San Antonio Spurs, the Thunder's opponent in the Western Conference finals, not next season.

"It's not a distraction," Fisher said at the Thunder's morning shootaround Monday. "It's humbling. It's humbling, it's flattering. Phil knows better than anybody this time of year, there's a singular focus you have to have. That's what I'm trying to do for myself and the team. Regardless of what it is, I'm not concerned about it until after these playoffs are done."

Fisher said before the season that this would be his last season as a player and he hasn't backed off that stance. He said Monday he hasn't spoken to Jackson about the Knicks' opening and doesn't foresee speaking with him until the end of the Thunder's season.

"We talk every offseason. I'm sure we'll talk again when the season is over, but I don't have any intentions on reaching out to him, and I think he respects the space that I'm in as well," Fisher said. "We touched base right before his official press conference when he accepted the job. Since then we haven't spoken. Obviously, [Jackson] is busy in terms of trying to make the changes he needs to make there, but I have a day job as well, and I think he respects that more than anybody. He taught me a lot about how to operate during this time of year."

Fisher had 16 points off the bench in the Thunder's 122-105 Game 1 loss. Game 2 is Wednesday night in San Antonio.

ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.

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