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New York (AFP) – New York Knicks president Phil Jackson was handed a $25,000 fine by the NBA for breaking the league’s rules against tampering with another team’s personnel.

During a press conference last week, Jackson publicly expressed interest in veteran Oklahoma City guard Derek Fisher as a candidate to fill the Knicks’ coaching position left vacant when Mike Woodson was sacked in April.

Fisher, however, was still under contract with the Thunder and competing in the Western Conference finals at the time.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the penalty, which was communicated in a league-wide memo to each team.

Fisher played 10 seasons under Jackson when the latter was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999-2011.

Jackson, a 68-year-old Hall of Famer who has won a record 13 NBA titles as a player and coach, was announced as the Knicks new president in March and given control of all basketball decisions in a moved aimed at turning around the fading fortunes of the team where he started his glittering career.

Jackson played for the Knicks from 1967 to 1978, winning two titles as a player in New York.

Jackson won 11 NBA titles as a coach, surpassing the previous record of nine set by Red Auerbach.

Jackson retired from coaching in May 2011 after leading the Chicago Bulls to six crowns in the 1990s and then the Los Angeles Lakers to five titles. His last title came in 2010 with Los Angeles.

ESPN.com reported on Monday that Jackson planned to chat with Fisher by the end of the week, although the discussion wouldn’t be a formal job interview.

When the Knicks fired Woodson and his staff in April — after New York missed the playoffs — there was speculation that they would seek the services of Steve Kerr, who played on three of Jackson’s six NBA championship teams in Chicago.

Kerr, however, signed this month to coach the Golden State Warriors, who fired coach mark Jackson after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

Kerr, who has no coaching experience, has served as an NBA television commentator for most of the years since he retired in 2003.

Photo: Maddie Meyer via AFP

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

The late Sen. John McCain

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