by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Sparks recently named Derek Fisher as the new General Manager of the team in addition to his head coaching duties. The move was part of a total front office restructure for the Sparks and Fisher will now have a prominent role in player personnel decisions.
Fisher seemed excited about the opportunity about operating in dual roles for the Sparks.
“I strongly feel the advantage of being both the general manager and head coach will allow me to have a more hands-on approach to doing everything that I can humanly do to help our players become successful and help us become successful,” Fisher said in a Zoom media call last month.
Despite being eliminated in the playoffs in consecutive seasons, Fisher has had some success as a head coach with a 39-17 record while trying to find his comfort zone in the women’s game.
Now comes the challenge of trying to operate in two distinct roles simultaneously where many others have tried and failed throughout the pro sports landscape, especially in the NBA.
However, Fisher believes there is a pedigree to be successful in both jobs in the women’s game.
“Due to how much smaller and tighter we are on the women’s side with the number of employees, the number of staff, the number of players…we’re just not as vast in how many different things there are to manage,” Fisher said. “I believe it’s something on the W side, people have been able to find success with it.”
He cited coaches like James Wade (Chicago Sky), Bill Laimbeer (Las Vegas Aces), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx), Mike Thibault (Washington Mystics), and Curt Miller (Connecticut Sun) who have all had success operating as both head coach and GM.
Fisher is hoping for the same type of success as his colleagues, but will be immediately challenged with the numerous free agents the Sparks have.
LA will have nine players, including stars like Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, and Chelsea Gray set to become free agents. In his newly appointed role, Fisher will have to make tough decisions in who they want to bring back and if they are able to match their respective contract demands.
We shall see how well Fisher is able to properly separate being a coach and executive in his first offseason, and what moves he’s able to make to improve the Sparks. Perhaps DFish can reverse the trend of coaches who have struggled in dual roles.