After an extended period of undefined leadership at the helm of the Los Angeles Sparks, head coach Derek Fisher has added the general manager job to his title, The Next has learned, as part of a front office revamping that sets clear lines of authority in basketball operations for the first time since Penny Toler was fired in October of 2019. “We’ve really worked extremely hard to try and establish a culture for how we want to try and do things in terms of running basketball operations, and how we want to try to build a more cohesive organizational structure between basketball and business,” Fisher told The Next. “And we’re nowhere near done. This is just the beginning.”
Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, the 2016 MVP and WNBA champion, said Gigi was “symbolic of his legacy, and also the future of women’s basketball.” Gigi had become a big fan of 11-time national champion UConn, and she went to Huskies games with her father, including UConn’s senior day in 2019 for Samuelson and Napheesa Collier. Samuelson said Bryant sent her a text after that game. “He recorded me walking out with my dad,” Samuelson said. “He said he had to get that moment, because he knew he’d be a wreck if it was him.”
Fisher did a ton of journaling before he addressed the Los Angeles Sparks as their new head coach this spring. Thinking through what he would say. What his players needed to hear. The way he hoped they’d learn to play together. The WNBA championship he hoped they’d chase this season. A chase that continues Tuesday (ESPN2, 6:30 p.m. ET) when third-seeded Los Angeles plays the Connecticut Sun in Game 1 of the WNBA semifinals. But when he stepped in front of his new team for the first time, before a practice this spring, Fisher knew only one thing mattered: He had to be real with them about his past. “The first step I tried to take was to equalize myself and be very honest with the players about my life,” Fisher said.
2 years ago via ESPN
Fisher took the Knicks job because he thought he’d be doing it for the next 20 years and had the time to grow into it. Less than two seasons into it, he was fired. “I take my responsibility and hold myself as accountable as anybody,” Fisher said. “But that was the toughest part about me exiting New York. Not that I got fired. Coaches get fired. It’s that there really was the belief that the way we were trying to approach things as a staff, was what was causing the issue. There were much larger things in play, that are still in play there, affecting it.
2 years ago via ESPN