Fish at a Fair Price

Kurt —  July 4, 2007

He has a prominent place in Lakers fans’ hearts as one of those key role-playing veterans on championship teams. He is classy. He is Mr. .04. He’s got rings and he earned them. The fact he would walk away from $21 million to make sure his daughter got the best care possible says volumes about the man.

Lakers fans — including this one — have a soft spot for Derek Fisher, which is why we like the idea him coming back to Los Angeles. It’s easy to picture him as a stabilizing influence in the locker room and as a veteran tutor to Jordan Farmar and Jarvis Crittenton. He could share time in the backcourt with those two for a few years and help fill in a big need for the Lakers.

But because we are so fond of him, we Laker fans view him through rose colored glasses (or maybe whatever color those glasses Bono wears are). He has shortcomings and we forget the frustration he caused us because of the highlights.

First, he’s not a quality starting PG in the league. He started one season for the Lakers (02-03) and the next summer the Lakers were looking for a new PG to start. When Golden State brought Fish in and paid him to be their starter, it wasn’t long before they were looking for a new PG. Last year he had a PER of 11.4 — well below the league average — and he shot just 30.8% from three. That PER is slightly lower than his career average but pretty close to what he did a lot of years when he was with the Lakers the first time — but he wasn’t a starter then, either. He brings a lot of great energy and veteran presence off the bench, which is valuable. But he is not a starter.

He is 33. Last year’s playoffs showed he still has some gas in the tank, but this is the age when players numbers generally start to decline. And last year, most of his numbers fell from the year before — eFG% from 47.6% to 41.8%, 3pt % from 39.7% to 30.8%, PER from 14.8 to 11.4. You can expect that his numbers may fall again. And the smart thing to do would be to keep his minutes down in the regular season (say, 20 per game) so he has legs left come playoff time.

Finally, in an off-season where the Lakers are looking for a defensive stopper, Fish is not that. He drove Laker fans nuts the first time around because he could not stop the quicker PGs in the league, and if anything those guards have gotten faster in the last few years. Last season, opposing PGs shot 50.4% (eFG%) and had a PER of 16.9 against Fish (for comparison, Smush’s numbers were 46.8% and 18, guys shot better against Fish but they did everything else better against Smush).

Then there’s my concern that Fisher’s agent told the LA Times Fish wants the full MLE. That’s a lot of money tied up for a backup PG.

I want the best for Fisher and his family. If the Children’s hospital, the Doheny Eye Institute, and/or the Jules Stein Eye Institute (thanks to drrayeye for the names in a comment) can offer the best for his daughter, then I hope he comes to Los Angeles regardless of basketball. As a father, I can’t imagine what he is going through but I understand going to any length to make sure child gets the best.

On the court, I want to see Derek Fisher in Laker colors next season, but not at any cost. He is not a savior. I picture him being the first guard off the bench behind Farmar. And I think three years in the neighborhood of $10 million (about half the MLE) is fair for the player Fish is today. And if he comes to LA, and starts a fund to help raise awareness of his daughter’s condition, I’ll be at the front of the line to post a link (or whatever is needed) and make a donation.

Kurt

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68 responses to Fish at a Fair Price

  1. well said kurt. let’s not get carried away in nostalgia. that said, the stats don’t show fish’s locker room presence and clutch play. go after blake, but keep fish as a plan b.

  2. It’s just a small nitpick–it’s a pet peeve–but I have to say it.

    It’s 0.4, not .04. The league does not keep hundredths of a second.

    Sorry. We now return you to your regularly informative Lakers blog.

  3. Just happened to come across this article and thought I’d share it with the smartest Laker fans in the blogosphere (or something); it’s Paul Shirley (former benchwarmer, maybe least, for the Suns; and also just a tiny bit famous with a few people for blogging apparently really well @ NBA.com) writing about the (plausible) results of Kobe playing with KG, the unlikelihood of that happening, and who he likes more (guess). Anyway…..hope all had a nice fourth of July…and those not in the United States, a nice Wednesday :)

    http://www.slate.com/id/2169154/fr/flyout

  4. I agree with you about Fish. Maybe my favorite guy in the league….if not, he’s up there, but that is too much for him, imo.

  5. I don’t think Fish actually expects the full MLE, I think the agent’s just saying what he has to. In Fish’s words: “I’ll be 33 in August. I’m 6-1. I averaged 10 points this year, I don’t know how many people feel strongly about what I do.” Does that really sound like a guy expecting 6 mill?

    Unrelated, what do people think about our summer league roster:
    http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/070703_summerroster.html

    I don’t know most of these guys, but I feel like there had to have been better available. What’s a 30 yr-old center doing on a summer league team? I realize it’s a moot point because our roster’s full, but c’mon. At least the Warriors picked out guys with awesome names:
    http://westcoastbasketball.blogspot.com/2007/07/more-like-one-in-million.html

  6. Renato Afonso July 5, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Giving him the full MLE is way too much, as you said. Half of it is OK for a backup PG.

  7. i completely agree. Not only is 5-6M a year steep, The 5 year contract is too long. He’s 33 and will likely retire in 3 years.

  8. Kurt,

    Your analysis of Derek’s defense and value reflect long standing Laker beliefs that have hurt us badly in the past..

    The first concerns your claim that Derek doesn’t play quality defense, comparing his stats to the Smusher.

    Derek was brought in by the Jazz because of–not in spite of–his defense. I don’t know the exact rankings, but I’m sure that last year Utah dramatically outranked the Lakers, with Fisher playing a leading role in Jazz success–and Smush playing a leading role in Laker failures.

    You don’t play in Utah if you don’t play defense–and they play tough switching team defense. That might explain why his statistical scores don’t reflect his performance very well. Though I didn’t follow Derek during the season, I did watch him in the playoffs, and watched him lead and execute both the offense and defense. It was a work of art.

    The Spurs didn’t stop Nash in the playoffs with quick guys. They slowed him down with long tall guys and a team plan. Derek will not stop Bibby, Parker, or Nash with his personal quickness, but he will lead a team effort to control them–just as he did against the Warriors in the playoffs.

    The second issue concerns Derek’s value in dollars. The Lakers automatically undervalue the point guard position–and pay the price. Elsewhere, starting point guards can earn in the range of $20 million (Kidd, Nash), and non starting point guards can earn $10 million. The Lakers expect to pay no more (and preferably less) than a MLE for a starter–and no more than $10 million for 3 (count ‘em) point guards. Last year they paid $700,000 for their starter.

    The L:akers undervalued Derek when he was here, not accepting the prevailing value for point guards throughout the league. The prevailing market rate for Derek turned out to be an MLE, proven when he left the Lakers, and proven again when he was signed by the Jazz LAST YEAR after his salary had increased year-to-year.

    Following Laker logic, you would bring Derek back down to Laker rates. I hope you wouldn’t also have him join a team not committed to team defense–and complain when he inevitably gets beat one-on-one, just like he (and the Glove, and many others) did before.

    Derek being Derek, he may well forego money he deserves in favor of this location for his daughter. Or, he may go somewhere else and get paid his proven value.

    It’s not whether he deserves the MLE: it’s whether we deserve him.

  9. chris henderson July 5, 2007 at 8:47 am

    I agree with you guys, Fish is a great leader and we need one these days, and a solid player, but the full MLE is too much. the smart thing to do is wait to see where he winds up with his family, (it might not be here) and then see if there is any competition, (clippers). if not, once they’ve exhausted other options, Fish can be a great fallback, at about half the MLE, (and not for 5 years as you’ve mentioned), would be about right.

    one thing he brings is a sense of values that is hard to beat, and hopefully that would be contaigeous, and if that were to be the case, it’s like the American Express card…
    priceless.

  10. Fair post. Agree entirely.

  11. Well, things could always be worse for the Lakers, we could be the Knicks. check out the link to see an insight into the innebriated mind of their startting PG. classic stuff.

    http://deadspin.com/sports/marbury-gets-his-tracy-morgan-on/marbury-and-his-better-ho-half-275107.php

    that alone makes me want a backcourt of Farmar and Fish.

  12. warren (philippines) July 5, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Right on. 10M 3yrs would be great, full MLE would be crazy. I guess it’s simply his agent’s way of negotiating for an offer.

  13. drrayeye,
    Utah didn’t take Fish for his defense. They traded for him by getting rid of a bad contract. Fish was overpaid by Golden State and then had a contract that had to be met – period.

    We had previous criticisms of his defense when he was here. It’s not that he can’t play team defense, but in what system.

    All that said, Fish has more value to the Lakers than probably any other team – because of his connection to LA and to Kobe.

    I think the key factor is where he goes for his daughter’s care. If that is in LA, then I think we have a very good chance to sign him – and we should. I don’t think 1/2 MLE is getting him on the cheap, but for us he would be well worth it.

  14. I don’t really care much about stats… it’s how a player fits into the team system and the intangibles he will bring to the team in and out of the court. DFish is a prime example. It won’t show in the stats that will bring locker room stability as well as respect from Kobe. His experience and guidance will also be invaluable assets to Farmar and Crittenton that, again will never show in the stats. Most of all, his toughness and his 5-year experience with the triangle offense is better than any other pg’s resume out there. Farmar will be the starter next season. Fish, hopefully will be the back-up, and steadying presence coming off the bench. sign him for 2yrs, with a team option on the 3rd. don’t let money be a factor, what he will contribute to the team will be worth more than the midlevel his agent is asking for. He may not be the savior, but he may just save this team from breaking apart

  15. Kurt,

    I fully agree with your post. I think our poor play at the PG spot the past two years have given us a revisionist version of D-Fish’s play when he was here. And the full MLE for six years that his agent is talking about is crazy, it’s just an agent being an agent.

    However, I do think the Lakers should do everything that they rationally can to bring Fish back. He is the emotional, veteran, spiritual leader this team has been lacking. How much we pay for that leadership is up to the front office, but I’m guessing Fish’s impact on the team would be as great or greater than that of some All-Stars we could get.

  16. 14, 15- I think that is exactly right. My problem with the full MLE is not necessarily the price/year it was the duration of the contract. Money issues aside the leadership that Fisher would bring to the team would be invaluable. Fisher is not a great one-on-one defensive player but he is a good team defensive player. It’s not individual defense that makes a team a great defensive team, it is team defense. This is what the lakers are lacking. This is something the lakers lacked during the Shaq-Kobe era as well. Yes they were capable of playing great team defense but they did not always do it. Team defense is something with a few more pieces the lakers could do now. But it takes the team as a whole starting with Bryant (since hes the leader) to accomplish. It takes team chemistry and a concerted effort as a team to do that. That is what the lakers are missing.

  17. I mostly agree that the FO needs to look at Fisher with their heads and not their hearts. That being said, I also agree that his value is hard to measure because of his toughness, work ethic, and character.

    But the Lakers should value Fish (more than other teams) for the simple fact the he already knows the system and the staff. ( while possibly making employee #24 behave himself?)

    How long would it take a Steve Blake (or other FA) to learn/ fit in to our system?

    Reminds me of when we re-signed A.C. Green, although Fish has more in the tank.

  18. Gatinho,

    Completely agree on the length vs. cost argument. I might be the only one in Lakerland who would rather go into camp with the Farmar/Critt duo at PG than pay the going rate for a Mo Williams, Steve Blake, or Charlie Bell. I don’t think anyone of those guys solves our problems and they would be killers for the cap.

    However, I think all discussion is pointless until the KG situation is over. It seems obvious to me that the Lakers are holding tight on any moves until they either have KG in a Laker uniform or he’s wearing something other than a Wolves jersey.

  19. In general Fisher’s/Farmar’s defense gets a lot better with an intimidating presence behind them, if not there is only so much they or any “team defense” can do. We need to get that guy to go with whoever plays point.

  20. Hurt (19) I agree. That is one of the main pieces the lakers is missing; an interior defensive presence. JO would cover this but I think there are too many ? marks about his health. His offensive numbers have declined in the last two years. KG would also cover this problem, but how much would we have to give up to get him? Too bad Marcus Camby is not available. When healthy his interior defense is as good as anybodies. Just wishful think though.

  21. Here is a story that shows that caution and patience are a virtue when signing players and making deals. I am not going to include the link, It is on ESPN and I think you need to be an insider to see. I’m not sure if I can legally post this but oh well.

    The Rest Of The Story
    Jul 4 – An exceptionally well-connected league insider once told me the story of how Brian Cardinal got his mid-level.

    Seems Memphis owner Michael Heisley, frustrated by GM Jerry West’s lack of activity, walked into West’s office one day and asked why he hadn’t signed anyone yet. So an exasperated West picked up his phone, called Cardinal’s agent and offered the mid-level on the spot. Then he turned to Heisley and said something along the lines of “There, you happy now?”

    Now nobody in Memphis is happy about Cardinal’s contract, other than Cardinal, of course. — Indianapolis Star

    So day in the lab here.

  22. Kurt 19)

    What do you think about offerring Darko Milicic the full MLE and substantial minutes at the 4/5?

    I know, I know, too many Kwame/Darko jokes to even think through, but the strong points of the guy are his abilities to score in the post and block shots.

    He’s big and young and at the MLE could be a huge bargain.

    Plus, if we make any deal for JO or KG we’re going to be very thin up front. He fits in with a pre and post KG trade Laker roster.

    Lastly, he just got crapped on by the Magic and might have a chip on his shoulder. Might be the operative word there.

  23. Lakers Summer League Roster

    Position/Player/Height/Weight/School -

    G/ Javaris Crittenton – 6-4 – 198 – Georgia Tech

    G/ Ebi Ere – 6-5 – 215 – Oklahoma

    G/ Jordan Farmar -6-2 – 180 – UCLA

    F/ Brandon Gay – 6-8 – 220 – USD

    F/ Jeff Graves – 6-9 – 275 – Kansas

    G/ Ralphy Holmes – 6-4 – 190 – Cal State Fullerton

    F/ Dalron Johnson – 6-9 – 210 – UNLV

    G/ Coby Karl – 6-5 – 216 – Boise State

    C/ Bryson McKenzie – 6-10 – 230 – Northern Illinois

    F/ Andre Patterson – 6-7 – 217 – Tennessee

    C/ Jabari Smith – 6-11 – 250 – Louisiana State

    C/ Larry Turner – 6-11 – 240 – Tennessee State

    F/ Rodney White – 6-9 – 230 – UNC Charlotte

    * Rodney White 6th year NBA veteran will be playing for the Lakers SPL team
    ** Jabari Smith 7th year NBA veteran will be playing for the Lakers SPL team
    *** Andrew Bynum will not be on the Lakers SPL roster
    **** Sun Yue will not be on the Lakers SPL roster
    ***** Marc Gasol will not be on the Lakers SPL roster

  24. 22. I haven’t seen enough of Darko to really make an educated comment. I know his rep but then many said he seemed to play better than that last year. The stats show that he can rebound and block shots, but I’m hesitant to say how he would fit based on just that. Just haven’t seen enough of him.

  25. 23. And I meant to comment on that roster. It’s a little guard-heavy, but if you’ve ever watched Summer League ball it’s a guards league. Guys are trying to get noticed so if the PGs options are shoot or bounce-pass into the post, they shoot. Having Farmar and Crittenton should serve the Lakers well.

    What ticks me off is none of the Laker games are on NBA.TV, only on webcasts. I don’t know if I’m going to get to see any of them. That sucks.

  26. I wanted to add that the “poor defense” that we saw with DFish was..in my opinion Shaq’s fault.

    I mean, time and time and time again…..who did not step out on the pick and roll like he was supposed to do???? Shaq.

    Yes the quicker gaurds blew by DFish…but he did his job getting the opponet to the base line and driving them to the help defender….who was all to often absent or to slow to do anything about it. And who was that???? Shaq.

  27. Under the CBA, fish can’t at age 33 sign a full 5 year MLE contract. There’s an age 36 rule that reduces the MLE for the post age 36 years of the contract. I don’t have time to look up the specifics (it’s on Larry Coon’s FAQ on the CBA), but the full MLE available to Fish is less than to, say, Blake.

  28. Follow up: the post age 36 years aren’t guaranteed. So Fish can only get 3 years at the MLE guaranteed.

  29. It looks like our Philly game (July 10th) is on NBAtv:
    http://www.nba.com/summerleague2007/schedule/index.html
    and the other four you can watch online.

  30. Fisher over Blake because he knows the triangle, brings a veteran leadership and integrity this team is sorely lacking, and would be a a great guy to have on the sideline schooling Crittenton. That being said, he’s definitely not worth the MLE and Fish is obviously not the kind of guy to put money over his daughter’s health. He’ll be in LA whether his agent likes the terms or not.

  31. chopperdave,
    what website will be showing the games on the internet?

  32. Tom,

    I agree. If Fish plays he does so in a city with the medical care he deems best. After he finds out which city has the best care, he’ll see if they have an NBA team. After that’s determined, if he actually wants to play basketball he’ll have his agent contact the team to deem interest.

    His agent is just being an agent with that full MLE talk, trying to make the most money. The size of the contract Fish will get is probably far down the “deciding factor” list.

  33. I like Darko a lot. Watched quite a few Magic games last year. The guy has a great touch around the basket and can make chippies, as Shaq calls them, and out to about 10 feet. I haven’t seen him enough to know whether he can shoot a mid-range jump shot but he is assertive enough in the low post that I don’t think it’s a factor. He is an underrated passer and blocks shots and darts into passing lanes quite well. I think he’s Kwame with softer hands, basically. Really with all the complications and uncertainty at the moment, I wouldn’t sign him, it would just muddy the waters further, imo, but I am open to being persuaded otherwise.

  34. I think the Fisher resignation has some interesting, positive implications for the Jazz. With Fisher’s 7M per year on the books, the Jazz had no chance to get under the cap in the foreseeable future, even if they moved Kirilenko. Now, if they trade Kirilenko for an expiring contract and young piece (say for Ratliff and Gerald Green), the Jazz will have massive cap room next summer to either sign one of the many top free agents or pull off a Jason Richardson-Charlotte deal. Given that the team is a year or two away from contending and Kirilenko is a bad, unhappy fit, I can see them taking this route. With another year of development for Deron Williams and a prize free agent next summer, they could be really well positioned to overtake the Spurs or Suns. I know this is a Laker blog, but I still found it interesting.

  35. Totally unrelated, I just stumbled on this really interesting piece on Kwame from 2002:
    http://www.czabe.com/backup/vol11_apr22/Growing%20Pains%20%28washingtonpost_com%29.htm

    Jesus, I didn’t know any of this about him. Really changes the perspective with which I view him. Also makes me question even more Phil’s decision to call him out. He clearly is not emotionally capable of dealing with that type of pressure and criticism.

  36. Renato Afonso July 5, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    22. 35. Well, Darko can actually hit the mid-range jump-shot. If we actually make a trade that makes us thin upfront, then we should try and sign him for the MLE.

    Point is, I don’t think we can have Fish and Darko at the same time. It all comes down to Phil’s and Kupchak beliefs in Javaris.

  37. The Magic coach wanted Darko to play in the low post,but Darko prefers being outside and has a very nice outside shot. He’s a decent help defender,a good shot-blocker and rebounds well,and is adequate at defnding his man. He has a tendency to loaf back on D. In many respects his game resembles Rasheed Wallace’s-but w/out the mental toughness and crazy outbursts.
    The MLE won’t get him as there will be too much competition at that price,and some team will prob offer him more. I would seriously think about offering Kwame in a sign/trade and offer Darko a 5yr deal at $9mil,$8mil,$7mil,$8mil,$9mil w/a team and player option after 3yrs. The Magic might take it as a way of getting a big man rental for yr,then cap relief.

  38. I also thought about trying to work out a sign and trade for Darko, but unless the Magic unload salary in another deal, they can’t take back any salary for Darko in a sign and trade — the Lewis signing completely broke their cap room. So, he has to agree to the midlevel unless a team with cap room offers him more. Fortunately, only a handful of teams have enough room to offer more than the midlevel — Milwaukee, Memphis, Charlotte (if Wallace leaves), and Chicago (if they renounce/trade Nocioni). If they all pass, he has to take the midlevel somewhere.

  39. Very much so.

  40. And

    Bryant says he apologized to Kupchak

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nba&id=2927322

    “I just felt like as a man, it was important for me to tell him, `I’m sorry it came out that way,” Bryant said at a lightly attended news conference at Loyola Marymount, where he spoke mainly about his camp for youngsters at the school this week.

    Bryant said that while he could have called Kupchak, it was important he speak with him face-to-face.

    “I was frustrated, I was venting,” Bryant said.

    :-) )

  41. 43. I think that’s what 41 said.

  42. warren (philippines) July 6, 2007 at 12:31 am

    I think it was a good thing that Kobe apologized to Mitch. It just shows that media had everything to do with “selling the drama”.

    Fisher will be a decent pickup up to 3 years 10-12M. No question, I don’t think the MLE would be a fair price for him regardless of how much soul and heart he has. This leaves another 3M for another player we sorely need. Given the choice, I’m still up to a F/C who can play sparing minutes effectively.

    Darko Millicic will be another gamble at the MLE. High risk, high reward is the concept. However, in a team that hardly had anyone to score for them, why didn’t Darko “come out” and average at least 18 and 8? I don’t think there is much he can help us with, even of he wanted to play here for the MLE.

    Pending any trades, I still contend that the Lakers NEED a player who can post up. No not Lamar Odom. We need for Odom to “play his game” and not assume the role we want him to play. Which is why I have been advocating for the JO deal. JO provides that dimension we sorely need down low.

    I guess whats on the table now is whether we are willing to give up LO and AB for JO. Even I, advocating for JO, will have to say its quite over-paying. The decent deal for me would have to be JO + Foster for LO and Kwame.

    The deal rids them of 3 years of contracts by taking in 2yrs and an expiring. Perhaps we can throw in an 08 1st in that deal to sweeten it a bit. The point is, with LO and Kwame, Indiana can still keep their heads above water while looking to move the other contracts that they have in Tinsley, Murphy and Dunleavy. And they can still play the 5 of them altogether. Tinsley-Dunleavy-Odom-Murphy-Kwame.

    In taking in JO and Foster, we get to compensate the loss of 2 of our starters. Playing at 4 and 5, JO and JF can immediately start for LA as is. Foster is the scrapper for loose balls that Kwame never has been, he can catch the drop pass from a penetrating Kobe and he bruises his forearms to dive for loose balls. Ok that last line was a little over the top in describing Jeff Foster.

    But the point is, this is a way better deal than what a KG deal would actually yield us with.

  43. Finally some calming words out of Kobe’s mouth. Hopefully now the drama that is BSPN can leave it alone and like Kobe said, just concentrate on USA Basketball. Should be fun watching Kobe and Lebron on the same team.

    Anyways, if anybody wants to listen to the Kobe press conference, you can listen to it on am570radio.com.

    Not really worth listening to, all he does is talk about his camp and answer like 3 “important” questions… all of which will be on every newspaper and sports show for the next week.

  44. Kobe had to apologize to Mitch. He’s been an azz. Personally, I don’t believe genies can be returned to bottles. Whatever. Kobe is a diva and if you’re 28 and a diva, well, you’re gonna be a diva the rest of your life. Hopefully some semblance of normality can be returned to the franchise.

  45. I spent some July 4th time trying to sniff the breezes in Minnesota, Chicago, Golden State, and Memphis. This is sort of like the calm before the storm. You can judge for yourself if my sniffer is any good.

    Minnesota, officially and unofficially, expects to start the season with KG. They feel that they might have enough pieces to be at least respectable this year.

    Chicago is trying to digest their acquisition of Noah. They like the team they have. Nobody is desperate for a trade tomorrow.

    Golden State is grieving over the loss of Richardson–hoping that the acquisition of KG (or someone) could assuage thier grief. They expect more trading action, but what? They’re clueless. They are afraid management will pocket the $10 million they can use to acquire someone.

    Memphis isn’t into NBA basketball. The few blogs that cater to them have very weak posts several months apart. The only Grizzlies that care are the money people–and the new coach. They’ve worked very hard to get a team grounded in very recent draft picks–and they’d like to get some more next year. Problem is, they don’t have a true center on their team.

    They’ve got Conley but no Oden–not even on the horizon.

    I couldn’t help making a pitch into hyperspace:

    “Hey Grizzlies, you’ve just won the lottery. We can give you a true center who’s been NBA tested and trained–and he’s still a teen!

    You just need to trade us Pau Gasol. We’ll even help you drop your cap $10 million for next year if you want by sending you an expiring contract! That should make it easier for you to sell the team–shouldn’t it? If it’s a move to Las Vegas, they’d like a brand new team to nurture I think.”

    Maybe Jerry West could facilitate behind the scenes?”

    Kurt, How about doing a column on the prospects for Pau Gaso becoming a Lakerl?

  46. instead of fish at 3 or 4 per, why not franchise at the veteran’s min? (provided that portland buys out his contract.)

    clipperblog has good franchise pros v. cons.

    http://www.clipperblog.com/item/380#c

  47. 25) neither me
    welcome to my life :)

    I envy you so much for being able to see at least 50 of the lakers 82 regular season games…
    If i get to see 15 of them a season (without counting playoffs) being awake at 4 am each game I feel fortunate

    By the way, I read today that Kobe apologized to Mitch about the way he asked out.
    http://www.pe.com/sports/basketball/lakers/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_nba_notes_06.3f687b9.html

    From LA Times: “When given the chance, the nine-time All-Star did not reiterate his demand to be traded by the Lakers. “Nah, you know what?” Bryant said Thursday. “What I said is what I said. Everybody knows that we need to make some adjustments and need to get better. That’s not a shock, that’s not a secret. We just have to see where that goes.” That he chose to use the word “we” instead of “they,” or something worse, would indicate some sort of change-over in his opinion of the Lakers.”

  48. I know this is a Lakers blog but this is kind of funny. Apparently Yi Jianlian won’t even talk to Milwaukee management. They have been trying to contact him to set up a meeting in person but he has yet to respond to any invitation. It’s one thing when someone like Kobe acts they way but how does someone who has never even played an NBA game before get to act that way. Hey I guess Kobe did it at 18 when he was drafted. He did not want to play in Charlotte which is one of the reasons he ended up in LA.

  49. warren (philippines) July 6, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Perhaps its Yi’s version of “trade me to LA”.

    Well, as I have mentioned in the previous threads, the sanest deal to do would be Pau Gasol for Kwame and Byno. We can even add in Crittenton in there and the deal would still be ok. Its imperative that we “add” and not “change”.

    Given the choice, I ask every member here in fb&g as to which “improvement” would be the better one:

    a) Bynum + Kwame + Crittenton for Pau Gasol
    b) Odom + Kwame for JO + Foster

  50. warren (philippines) July 6, 2007 at 8:19 am

    I just heard that Grant Hill will be a Phoenix Sun next fall. Has this been made official already? If so, he will break his ankles to pieces if he tried to run with the pack. Not a good choice.

  51. 52- Jermaine O’neal is a better defensive player than Gasol, but has been injured a lot lately and his numbers (offensively since last year he was as good as ever on the defensive end) have been declining in the last two years.

  52. Kobe apologizes, Mihm is looking at the Suns. That tells me something’s already in the works for a big man. The Lakers’ organization is the best in the world at keeping secrets. Stern loves this, keeps all the attention on the NBA and off MLB.

  53. 36. Reed – thanks for the insight on the Jazz. It’s always interesting to learn about what the competition might be planning.

  54. The Kobe apology is just one more tea leaf to ponder.

    Some others: Phil Jackson almost guaranteeing that there will be a significant trade or trades. Kobe flying to Spain and running into Pau Gasol. The Laker drafting of Pau Gasol’s brother. No significant discussions with Pacers or T’Wolves. Jerry West officially leaving the Grizzlies a few days ago.

    What else?

    The quiet from the Lakers front office is deafening–and it no longer seems to be quiet desperation.

    What am I missing?

  55. Oh and before we say that Fisher is looking for the mid-level:

    Not About The Money
    Jul 6 – Before deciding where he’ll play, though, agent Mark Bartelstein said Derek Fisher will continue to focus foremost on determining precisely where Tatum can receive the best care.
    “People are making it seem like this is about money,” Bartelstein said Thursday, “but just the exact opposite is true.

    “We haven’t talked about money with anybody,” the Chicago-based agent added. “I was asked by a reporter in Los Angeles what I thought Derek was worth, and my answer was ‘worth a lot more than the midlevel,’ because he just walked away from that. But we haven’t asked for anything from anybody. His interest right now is finding the right place for his daughter, and then we’ll go from there.”

    If the Lakers could get Fisher for the Vets min and Darko for the mid-level, that would be a great situation for them…

  56. 58- I don’t know whats going on but I have to agree that we are missing something. Before it seemed like everyone was so desperate trying to pull something off. But now.. It’s like the calm before the storm. I can’t help but feel something big is going to happen.

  57. Jones, that doesn’t sound like an agent trying to cover his ass?

  58. I agree with Kurt and others that Fisher is not worth the full midlevel — 3-4M per year sounds about right. However, what is the practical distinction between paying him 3-4M and 5.5M? Whether we pay him 3M or 5M, we have used up most of our midlevel, cannot pursue the other midlevel-ish players, and have only scraps left over for unexciting free agents. Can we really do anything meaninful with 2M of leftover midlevel? So, the question to me is really: Fisher, other free agent point guard (Blake?), or big man with the midlevel. This question largely depends on what we do with our big men via trade and whether Mihm comes back. I prefer signing Fisher and resigning Mihm and passing on other options. While I recognize Blake and other free agent point guards are younger and have more promising futures than Fisher, I think we really only need a veteran, experienced placeholder at the position this year to get us by while our young pups develop. Farmar and Crittenton are our future there and they both have as much or more upside than Blake or any other attainable point guard (Mo Williams is not attainable). So, I’d take Fisher (whether it’s 3, 4, or 5M) in a shorter contract, let him school Farmar/Critt, and then bring back Mihm for insurance frontcourt depth.

  59. I would say Fish and his family will decide on the location(s) first. If there are 2-3 places with equal services, only then will he think 1st about quality of life and 2nd about basketball. If NY has, by far, the best care for his daughter, I suspect he will either be a Net or retire from basketball – I don’t see the Knicks wanting him at any price.

    If, however, LA is in to top 2-3 service locations, and there is no outstanding frontrunner, then I think the Lakers stand a great chance of landing Fish.

  60. One more thing I think the Lakers should do for Fish. If he wants to continue in the NBA, after his career is over, they should offer him some future in their front office. If it were a communication or PR slot, I suspect Fish would be perfect. I don’t know about his coaching skills, but that would take him away from his family far more and might not appeal to him.

  61. Yeah it does, but I don’t think Fisher realistically thinks he can get the mid-level. I think the agent–although concerned for Fish and his family’s well being–is also probably upset that his organization will be losing out on $840K in commission money because of Fisher and the Jazz parting ways and is trying to figure out a way to get that back. But I think once Fisher read that he got on his ass about talking about money, when money really doesn’t have anything to do with this (at least for Fish).

  62. 61) Exactly.

    As for Darko, I offer the mid-level and the starting spot at the 4. End of discussion. If he and his agent think that he’ll get more exposure somewhere else, I’d like to see it. Make the deal short, two years, player option for a third, and let the guy get his value up when more teams are under the cap.

    Like reed said, he isn’t getting more than the MLE anywhere other than an under the cap team, and right now Darko still needs to prove that he’s worth the money (getting bailed on for a Lewis didn’t help his value any).

    I think he’d be a HUGE steal at the MLE and like his game in the triangle.

    Some might go the “Kobe needs vets” route, but you don’t pass on a good thing, no matter how young it is, when it falls to you.

    A Bynum-Odom-Darko front line is pretty big and impressive, and can score a few different ways, board like crazy, and provide a bunch of different looks defensively.

  63. Kurt- ha, I was thinking the same thing. He (Fish’s agent) came out and 1) made Fish look greedy, 2) over-shot Fish’s value. In the end, I see him coming here for half of the MLE. With that other half they should be looking at Ruben Patterson or Mikki Moore.

  64. If the Lakers (or friends of Derek Fisher) would like to be sure that Tatum gets the best treatment and care, maybe someone could help hook them up here in SOCAL. I suspect that Derek does not want to relocate his family to New York City (site of the initial surgery)–or his search would already be over.
    \
    The Retinoblastoma International lists 7 sites in the USA. Ours is within Children’s Hospital, a unique institution that has all specialized medical services for children under one roof in a child friendly environment:

    Los Angeles
    A. Linn Murphree, MD
    Director of Ocular Oncology
    The Retinoblastoma Center
    Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
    323-669-2299
    323-660-8541 fax
    lmurphree@chla.usc.edu

    Maybe the Lakers/Laker community could help facilitate this?