Around The World (Wide Web): The Return Of The Fisher King

Darius Soriano —  July 13, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (L) congratulates guard Derek Fisher in the fourth quarter during Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Massachusetts June 8, 2010. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Yes, indeed. Welcome back, Mr. Fisher.  Kobe wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers:  “Then again, these issues have proven a small trade-off for an uncanny ability to hit shots requiring huevos grande. I mean, big ol’ onions. Dude’s as clutch as players come, and until we see him turn “Robert Horry in the 2003 playoffs,” I refuse to stop extending Fisher a benefit of the doubt. One or two more biggies are guaranteed to drop before the sneaks are hung up for good.

Ultimately, Fisher’s impact is felt heaviest in the locker room and along the sidelines during games. His speeches are now the stuff of legend, the reason he has the ear of everybody on the roster, including Kobe Bryant. Some might even say especially Kobe — who stayed in Fish’s ear constantly while the situation was mulled — since the Mamba has labeled his longtime teammate the one player he’s absolutely willing to give audience, no questions asked.”

Kevin Ding, OC Register:  “It’s funny how desperately Bryant wanted to win without Shaquille O’Neal and yet Bryant now can’t stand the prospect of trying to win without Fisher – which Bryant has never done either. For a time there when things were good between Bryant and O’Neal, their opposites attracted – as is the case in the best of any relationships. But they never shared the core values that make Bryant and Fisher – for all their personality differences – more similar than you might think.

Bryant can respect Fisher to such an extent because Fisher works comparably hard and believes in himself comparably much. Fisher is a politician with a charming smile and analytical words, but he is just as certain at the bottom line as Bryant that no one can break him.”

Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: “Derek Fisher was coming back to the Lakers.  He flirted with Miami, but they could offer even less money than the Lakers. And more than money, it was about comfort. He fits well in the triangle. He could win titles in L.A. And Kobe Bryant wanted him back. It was going to happen. But for three years?”

Marc Stein, ESPN:  “Bryant, though, has not abandoned his pursuit and continues to press Bell to join the Lakers, who have only $1.8 million of their mid-level exception left to offer Bell next season after signing Steve Blake.

One source close to the situation said memories of Bell’s takedown, which earned him a suspension for Game 6 of the series — the Suns, down 3-2, won the game at Staples Center without him — are actually one reason why Bryant sees Bell as such an ideal teammate. The premise? Anyone with the gumption to hit Bryant that hard is someone he wants on his team.”

Mark Medina, LA Times: “All it took was a one-word answer for Michael Jordan to settle the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James debate. When he was asked at a basketball camp who the better basketball player was, Jordan simply said, “Kobe.” You can counter that Jordan’s talent evaluations leave a lot to be desired. He did draft Kwame Brown, you know. But his reputation as the game’s all-time greatest player speaks for itself. This is hardly a new revelation. When James won his second best most valuable player award, I presented in detail why Bryant is still the NBA’s best player.”

Darius Soriano

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to Around The World (Wide Web): The Return Of The Fisher King

  1. That picture speaks volumes. Fish can do what he wants around Kobe. That is a talent very few others, maybe only Fish and Phil, have. It may not be the right thing, but he can say “no” better than anyone. It’s probably taken out of context, but works perfectly for the post.

    Glad he’s back. He has truly, for all of us, put into perspective the regular season and the second season. How caught up we get in the day-to-day of the first 82 games. ; )


  2. Taylor,
    You are correct — the first 82 games are there to develop habit patterns; ones that will be relied upon in the playoffs.

    That is another aspect of Miami that has been mentioned before. They will probably try to get the best record in the regular season. Whether this wears them out, because they may be too thin, is yet to be determined. However, Boston is likely to play like the Spurs and just use the regular season to keep the oil moving in the engine and integrate new personnel.

    I expect the hype to climb ever higher during the regular season – like it did in Cleveland the last two years. It will be interesting if the result is the same.


  3. Al Jefferson to Jazz and Tyson Chandler to Mavs.

    These teams are all trying to load up on size to combat the Lakers length


  4. Phil likes to say, “It’s a journey.” It wouldn’t be the same journey without Fish.

    Keep ’em honest, Fish, keep them all honest and we’ll be just fine.


  5. Check out the Lakers draft picks in this ranking:

    Go Mitch!


  6. The Jazz would need to teach Jefferson how to play some defense.


  7. Kobe’s meeting with Raja Bell tomw.

    I know it’s unlikely that Raja will end up a Laker and even more so that even if he does elect to join the good guys that the following idea would be put into effect, but just for a moment, picture a Kobe-Bell-Artest-Pau-Drew lineup! The goal should be the first-ever shutout in the history of the NBA!


  8. does anyone know the detail of how the 10.5 million is spread over 3 years? Is it 3.5 million every year, or front loaded with the last year at a lower number? LA times seems to think it is an even 3.5 each year, but I am not sure if it is just speculation on their part. It would make sense for the Lakers to have the player-option year to be worth less so he is more motivated to opt out or retire when he will be 38.


  9. Looks like Z is signing for the vet min (1.4) in Miami. Pat Riley doin’ work. I can’t say much more than that.


  10. Got to respect what Riley has done. Shouldn’t be surprised that his plans went beyond just getting LBJ, Wade and Bosh. I’m sure he and Spoelstra have also thought about what the type of offense and defense they want/can run.


  11. In 2010, I’d say Matt Barnes> Raja Bell. That way we have a guy that can slash through the lanes, defend, and can get hot behind the arch. Like others on the site have mentioned, I’m worried about our team athleticism if we don’t get a Barnes/ Brown on the team. If we keep Brown and get Bell (highly unlikely) We could pass on Barnes but I’d like to see if he could fill Ariza’s shoes while Ebanks is still developing. BTW, I don’t know about you guys but I’m counting out Luke as a serviceable player until he proves otherwise. So I find a long athletic wing player crucial for us to add rotation comfort and a different dynamic to the team.

    After that, add Big Z in the mix and I’d say we got a roster!

    P.S: Settling to know we’ll still have “Big Shot Fish” on our team.

    Edit: Just saw Z is most likely going to Miami. Okay, Kurt Thomas then we can call it a Roster. Dang it!


  12. It’s good to have Fish back, even though I’m not crazy about the three year deal for a 35 year old. He’s the glue to the team and Kobe loves him, so that’s enough for me.

    I’m not too crazy about Raja Bell joining the Lakers. Like someone mentioned, we really don’t need to be getting older, and at 34 I don’t know that Bell is nearly as good defensively as he used to be. Maybe he’ll give us shooting but what the Laker bench needs is someone that can create their own shot and give an offensive boost when Kobe is out. The second unit will most likely include (barring Shannon doesn’t return): Sasha, Lamar, Blake, and maybe Ebanks or Caracter if we sign him. While that looks like a solid defensive core, last year we really lacked someone off the bench that could spark the offense and consistently be a scoring threat. The options are very small at this point to find a good swingman but it can still be done. I think Javaris should be an option ahead of bell. Maybe even a guy like Larry Hughes, even though he’s notorious for taking bad shots. And I don’t know how serious McGrady is about taking a paycut, but he could be a low risk, high reward type of guy. Just a few ramblings. Probably not going to happen but I’m just hoping that there’s a better alternative than Raja Bell.

    And I really think Mitch should keep both Ebanks AND Caracter. We’ve been talking about the Lakers needing a veteran back-up big man but I think Caracter can be very serviceable and more importantly, very cheap.


  13. 10/Bluehill: in an interview, spoelstra talked about how the heat had to put their guys in a position to succeed. they want to keep defenses from loading up on one side, so one way to get around that is to attack before the defense gets set.

    i expect to see a lot of fastbreak/showtime style basketball from them.

    Ilgauskas is a great pick up because he has range, spaces the floor, and keeps those driving lanes to the basket open. He can also trail the fastbreak and hit that 20fter. Excellent fit.

    6/Daniel Z: Boozer wasn’t a great defender himself, so I don’t think it’s much of a drop-off. Also, they can play Millsap and Jefferson together without worrying about being overpowered by a true center. Jefferson is 265 and will put up more resistance down on the low block. His inside game is also a nice complement to Okur’s outside game. I thought it was a great move.


  14. I think Ebanks and Caracter will definitely be in training camp. If there is no major downgrade in their performances I expect they will be on the 2010-11 club. Their skills, price, and work ethics would seem to fit too well into the deep Laker bench. I see Caracter definitely replacing Powell and Ebanks fortifying a thin SF core.


  15. sorry for the double post.

    i think blake/sasha/odom and hopefully bell will be the mainstays of our bench, with pau/drew anchoring the offense and defense.

    i see ebanks and caracter as specialists.

    if teams want to use an athletic PF with poor post defense–the kind odom can’t take advantage of, because his post game isn’t very strong–then caracter goes in and odom moves to the 3. DC is burly and skilled and just a handful for long, athletic 4s. they have to go a bit bigger and slower, and odom shifts back to the 4.

    if an opposing 2/3 is just too big or athletic for bell/sasha, then ebanks comes in to pester him with his length and tire him out by cutting and curling.


  16. Thanks, Chibi.

    Makes sense given their talent and Riley’s Showtime experience. Big Z does seem like a good pick given what they could spend and what they plan to do. Miller will also help keep the Lakers from packing the lanes.

    In some ways, the Lakers are starting to look like the 80’s Celtics with the dominating front line and half-court offense. Of course, we have Kobe on the wing so it’s not an entirely appropriate comparison.

    Fun stuff. The chess match is already beginning!


  17. I know this is a bit off topic but… if the lockout happen… When? Before or after this season?


  18. Ash 12: “We’ve been talking about the Lakers needing a veteran back-up big man but I think Caracter can be very serviceable and more importantly, very cheap”

    Don’t forget that we had both a back-up PF in Powell and back-up center in Mbenga. I think the Idea is to replace both or possibly one that has the talent to replace both (but that’s most likely not going to happen with our salary limits.) The reports of how good Caracter looks makes me feel good about his chances of taking Powell’s spot on a discounted price. Although, that will still leave out someone to secure Pau from having to get banged up at the Center spot if Bynum should get injured again. We have to make sure that Pau avoids getting that Center mileage on him just like we don’t want Kobe seeing minutes on strong SF’s… a la Artest. If we get a vet min. Like Kurt Thomas and Keep Caracter, we’d still be saving about $1 mil on getting rid of Mbenga/ Powell.


  19. After.


  20. I really think we should go after Matt Barnes. I think he’s better defensively than Raja – but then again, maybe Mitch and Co. think we can get Raja for less than Barnes.

    I’m still very concerned about a backup center. Do we go for an undersized Powell who brings a lot of positive team chemistry, or do we try to bring in a new vet for the minimum – if any are out there that are better? Do we also try to bring in Mbenga?


  21. Thanks Craig W.

    I heard some journalists in Argentina sayin’ it could be before…

    My brother, whith tickets for Turkey 2010 almost suffer a heart attack…


  22. Anonymous 20- Matt Barnes or Raja Bell would both command the whopping $1.8 million left from our MLE so niether could possibly get more money out of us. The only thing I could think of is if Barnes’ attitude is a problem with our organization. It seems right now that the only option of leaving that MLE salary in tact for say, a back up center is to re-aquire Shannon being we have partial Bird rights for him. Other than that possibility whoever we pick up for our spare wing player will most likely leave us with just the minimum to offer any Bigs we take.


  23. Barnes vs. Bell is a good debate. I think Bell’s combination of 3pt shooting and defensive tenacity is really appealing. Barnes is decent in those areas, but there is something about Barnes’ nastiness that I really like.

    What do the Lakers need more? A savvy vet or an enforcer? I’d be happy with either guy, to tell you the truth. I’d vote for the enforcer.


  24. The problem with Barnes is that he doesn’t shoot nearly as well as Bell does, nor is he Bell’s equal as a defender — he doesn’t have the foot speed to stay with two guards consistently.


  25. I don’t want Barnes at all. He’s fake tough. His whole “beef” with Kobe was the opposite of Raja’s. I’ve got way more respect for Bell than Barnes.


  26. mikeinchitown July 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    1. +1 for Barnes. On Bell; old + recovering from injury can’t be that helpful when you supposed to bring defense (otherwise, wouldn’t AMMO have worked for just 3PTers?). I think bringing Brown back and potentially signing Barnes would be a coup for Mitch on top of what he’s already done (Fish, Blake, Ebanks, Caracter).

    On Barnes being out of ORL:

    2. Re: Al Jefferson signing. I think Utah have made a nice recovery after losing Boozer, Korver, and Matthews. Could be snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

    I don’t know if you can play Al and Millsap together, but that is a pretty good team, probably a #4-6 seed. Sloan will work his magic and will contend again, just never enough to get over the hump.

    Deron Williams PG
    C.J. Miles SF
    Al Jefferson PF
    Mehmet Okur C
    Paul Millsap PF

    Andrei Kirilenko SF
    Ronnie Price PG

    3. Does anyone have any insight on Luke? What sort of relief do we get if he truly is injured and PUP?


  27. We have Sasha to back up the 2 spot. Our bigger need is a backup to the 3 spot since we don’t know if we can count on Luke or Ebanks. So it seems that Barnes is a bigger need than Bell. The problem is that even though Barnes’ teammates like him, he is decent from the 3-point line, and he has a nastiness to him and did a good job guarding Kobe; he seems to go from team to team every year even though he does all the dirty work — things teams love. There must be something else going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about.

    With the great performances by Caracter and Ebanks in Summer league, I think we can start to assume they will be on the roster (since they save money). But you guys need to resist the urge to put them in the rotation and have them playing any meaningful minutes. If they make the rotation, that would be a bonus, but the odds are they will be at the end of the bench and will spend next year learning the triangle.

    What do you guys think about Craig Smith if we can’t get Kurt Thomas? He is undersized but can do all the dirty work.

    After signing Big-Z today, ESPN (rumors section) reports the Heat are finalizing a deal with Juwan Howard and are close to signing T-Mac. This is not good.

    Perhaps signing Bell could also be a defensive move to keep the Heat from getting him. So far, Haslem is their only role player that can play any defense at all.


  28. Pato: After this season.


  29. In the Bell vs. Barnes debate, I have to agree with BCR that the key is that Bell gives us a better spacer on the floor than Barnes does.

    Barnes is a better slasher, but I don’t know that that’s what we need.


  30. Can someone please update the “money situation” now that we’ve signed Fish. It’s a little confusing. Thanks


  31. TMac to the Heat, that’s not good.. Thanks to the Cavs and Wolves agreeing to sign and trades, they will have money available next year as well in the free agent game.

    I’m on board with Raja Bell. If Kobe is going to meet with him, that’s good enough for me. He’s 6-5, intense..out with wrist injury last year, it’s not like he tore up a knee or something. He could be kind of a Ron Harper presence..


  32. I don’t think Barnes is “tough” per se. He’s nasty. He doesn’t seem to have any qualms about shoving a guy in the back when he’s up in the air, or giving a really hard foul. When there’s dirty work to be done, he’s the man for the job.


  33. Sasha, Fisher, Blake, and Kobe can all hit 3’s even Artest was a 40% 3pt shooter for the first half of the season. None of them are explosive slashers to the basket. That’s what we’re missing. I don’t think that Bell has that much of a defensive edge on Barnes. ESPN proclaimed Barnes as Orlando’s defensive stopper when writing about his likeliness of not resigning. His 3 pt shooting is not terrible and I think it hurt his percentage being in the Orlando 3pt happy system. Don’t forget that the role that needs to be filled or exceeded is Shannon’s. I’m not so much worried about toughness being we have a few guys named Kobe, Fisher, and Artest. So I’ll take a “fake tough” Barnes who can bring speed and defense than Bell who can bring superior 3pt shooting and defense.

    Dxbravo: What’s your source of TMAC to the heat and how iminent does it seem?


  34. Keep this in mind: Almost all GM’s and analysts assumed Tiago Splitter would take up the Spurs entire MLE. He signed for much less and most say this is the best contract given out so far this summer. This leaves the Spurs with 2.4 million of their MLE to offer to Raja Bell whom they really covet.


  35. I’m leery of Barnes. Something weird is going on there, because he has been making solid, and even occasionally inspired contributions in the playoffs for a number of years now, yet none of those teams have resigned him for what seems to be very cheap.

    A look at his numbers shows that he put up a 9/6/2 last year in 26 min/game for $1.6m, yet Orlando is going to let him walk. Other SF putting up similar numbers (in more minutes):
    T. Outlaw: 9/4/1 $3.6m
    M. Williams: 10/5/1 $7.5m
    Delfino: 11/5/3 $3.5M
    Gomes: 11/5/2 $3.9m
    And that’s without the likes of Jefferson and Turkoglu, and he’s probably the best defender on this list, to boot.

    His playoff numbers are even better, so it would seem from just a production and skill perspective, he should be getting the full mid-level from some team, particularly in this climate. There is just something really wrong here. I know he has a tendency to jack up bad shots, but a lot of guys in the league jack up bad shots and still get paid.

    I don’t know. If the Warriors and Nuggets have passed on a guy they know, it’s gotta give pause.


  36. Some love for DFish (Fisher: Champion)

    Great new-ish video by LD2K


  37. Jeremy, it does not appear imminent, but here is what Chad Ford of ESPN wrote in his updated column today:

    “McGrady knows he’s not going to get a huge deal at his age. But he’s been eyeing South Beach and seems to be leaning toward taking a minimum deal for a chance to play with the Miami Thrice. The Bulls have some interest in McGrady too.”


  38. A couple of things I’m glad about:

    1. We have Mitch and not MJ making player and contract decisions.

    Per ESPN’s Hollinger
    I’d like to congratulate Michael Jordan on being the first executive in history to avoid saving money in a salary dump. Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca have one year left at a combined $14.1 million, while Eduardo Najera and Matt Carroll are owed a combined $17.1 million over the next three years. Throw in cash (presumably the maximum allowable $3 million) from Dallas, and they managed to break even while giving away their starting center for two guys who will occupy seats 11 and 12 at the end of the bench. Strike up the band.

    For those who haven’t heard, Charlotte traded Chandler and Ajinca to Dallas on Tuesday for two of the deadest-weight contracts in the league (Najera and Carroll), cash, and the non-guaranteed contract of Erick Dampier. I still have no idea why.

    2. I’m not Doc Rivers. With the way this Heat team is taking shape, his hopes of getting one more championship are getting worse and worse. The C’s haven’t haven’t improved that much – O’Neal is better than Sheed, but they lost Tony Allen – and the Big 3 are 1 year older.


  39. Thanks for catch’n me up notorious.

    I don’t understand why Miller and Mcgrady would take less or the same amount to play with Miami when they could have been on the world champ’s team. Maybe they figure the Lakers only have a couple more title runs in them while the Heat seem to be a strong core for at least the next six years. I would think they would both want a title now instead of hoping they’ll be around in 2-4 years when Miami will really be a threat. Hopefully it backfires on all of them and the 10′-11′ heat are the biggest upset of all time.

    (just kidding, hopefully they give us a good fight to add to Kobe and PJ’s legacy)


  40. I think Barnes believes he can command more than what we’re willing to offer, so that may be why you see Kobe reaching out so badly to Raja. Slashers or not, Kobe understands that having Bell to throw at the stronger 2s/3s is another defensive ace in our arsenal.

    What is this TMac to Heat talk about? How many scoring champs can one team take on? Hopefully the Tmac playoff curse will continue if that’s the case.

    I love that Miami is getting all the attention now. It takes away from what our team will be doing – quietly going about preparations for a 3 peat. They can have 3 players, we’ll take 3 straight rings. Go Lakers!


  41. I like tyrese rice the pt guard playing for the kings…kinda reminds me of a young nick van axel


  42. I suspect that players view the James/Wade/Bosh team as a more enjoyable experience to play on than Kobe’s Lakers. And they are probably right – as intense as Kobe is, there is likely more pressure playing with him than with some other superstars. Some people would trade a less tense atmosphere for a (possibly) decreased chance at a ring. Which isn’t unreasonable.


  43. 41. And if they aren’t willing to do what is required to gain Kobe/Fish’s approval, they probably wouldn’t be good fits on the Lakers anyways.


  44. 33

    “Sasha, Fisher, Blake, and Kobe can all hit 3’s even Artest was a 40% 3pt shooter for the first half of the season.”

    And yet Farmar led us in 3-point shooting at 37.6% last season. Poor outside shooting was a major issue last season. Adding Bell to go with Blake would be a real upgrade.

    “None of them are explosive slashers to the basket. That’s what we’re missing.”

    Yes Barnes is a slasher, but how much of a difference is he going to make by himself in that regard? He doesn’t take that many shots and rarely gets to the line.


  45. The problem with Matt Barnes, is his hideous appearance. He is too ugly to wear a Laker uniform.

    +1 for frying fish with Raja. The more 3 point threats, the better. Not everyone will have their touch on a given night. Our World Champs were I think 24th in the Reg Season in 3pt % (just hazy recollection)