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Tag:Derek Fisher
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:00 am
 

Could Al Horford be the next union president?

Posted by Royce Young

Derek Fisher might be better known for his work as union president than for his work as point guard as the Lakers. Maybe that's not entirely fair, but Fisher represented the union with such class and dignity during the contentious labor negotiations that that's pretty much all I think of when I see him now.

But Fisher doesn't have much time left playing and there will need to be a new union president. Who could be next in line? According to ESPN.com, Al Horford is a leading candidate:
"File away Horford's name as a likely down-the-road top contender to succeed the Lakers' Derek Fisher as president of the players' union. The stately Fisher was elected president of the players' union in 2006 and had a more visible and prominent role during the five-month lockout than any of his predecessors has ever taken on.

Although he had to weather criticism over his perceived closeness to NBA commissioner David Stern, Fisher generally earned strong reviews for his contributions to ultimately getting a deal done to save the season, which is why he'll presumably be asked by his peers to carry on as president in the short term. But when Fisher has had enough -- he has two years left on a four-year term after re-election in 2009 -- word is that Horford will draw strong consideration as his successor."
I don't know enough about Horford to say whether or not he'd be as good as Fisher, but he would definitely have some time to learn on the fly. The new collective bargaining agreement doesn't have an opt-out for six years and doesn't expire for 10. So Horford might not even be in charge when it comes down to that.

But there's a name floating around to succeed Fisher and Horford is definitely another guy that's well spoken and full of plenty of class.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:06 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:14 pm
 

5 Things to Watch: Lakers at Heat

The Heat need LeBron James, who is a gametime decision with flu-like symptoms, against the Lakers Thursday night in Miami. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore


The Heat and Lakers are probably the most recognizable teams in the league at this moment in time. Featuring a likely six All-Stars between them, it's a marquee matchup of the season. Even with Dwyane Wade out and LeBron James a gametime decision, all eyes will be on South Beach Thursday night to see if the Lakers can get past the wall they've recently hit against LeBron's teams, and if Kobe Bryant can continue what has been an incredible month for him. The Lakers need this game to avoid another loss to a playoff team, and their second loss in three games, while the Heat need a win to stave off a disastrous four losses in five games stretch. With that, here are 5 Things to Watch or Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers 2012, Round 1. 

1. A Sick Attitude: LeBron James isn't feeling well. And it's not even the Finals! (Hey-O!) James is a gametime decision against L.A. due to "flu-like symptoms" that he's been dealing with this past week. James was also not feeling great against the Spurs and missed several layups and jumpers in the first half. Then apparently he had a Hi-C juice box at the half because he came out and demolished the Spurs in the third quarter to help the Heat turn a double-digit deficit into a double-digit route. That's what he can do. The question will be if his condition has worsened and how he reacts to it. Thanks to Michael Jordan, expectations actually raise if you have the flu. So LeBron's under pressure not only to win, but to extra special while sick. With the compact schedule, there's little rest, so James could be far less than 100 percent Thursday night. Which pretty much dooms the Heat. This is not the Hawks.

2. Spreading the Wealth: Kobe Bryant has been ridiculous over the past week, Mavericks game aside. He's been on tear of scoring 40 per game which came to an end against the Mavericks, but they got the win anyway. He's also been shooting an insane amount. His usage rate, or percentage of possessions used, is at 39.7 percent. So basically 4 out of every 10 times the Lakers come down the floor, he's the one who winds up with a shot or turnover. Against Miami, he may want to get everyone else involved so the Heat's help rotation defense doesn't neutralize everyone else, leaving him to go it alone. Granted, Dwyane Wade being out opens up chances for him (Shane Battier remarked after practice today that he was going to get some Hail Mary's in before the game). But the Lakers can dominate the Heat inside. An efficient game from Bryant that uses Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's advantage over a small Heat frontline to open up opportunities for Kobe could be the difference. That way Kobe gets the points, and the win.

3. The Inside Man: Well, I was worried about Andrew Bynum tearing the Heat apart, but Eddy Curry might play. The Heat are saved! But seriously, Bynum should be able to have his way with the smaller Joel Anthony and much smaller Chris Bosh. The Heat may even put Dexter Pittman on Bynum due to his size, but the youngster won't have the experience or muscle to hang with the wunderkind. If Bynum gets touches, the Lakers can play at their pace and rough up the Heat. Do that and you slow down the Heat's transition attack, their biggest asset.

4. Old Friends: Mike Brown knows LeBron James' tendencies as well as anyone in the league, having coached him for years in Cleveland. And setting aside whatever personal history exists between them, Brown will likely have his team prepared to combat James' effectiveness, flu or no flu. Whether it's goading him into his ineffective mid-range jumper, bringing help at the right time and position, or attacking one hand or another, Brown will have one of the best books on James you can have in this league, and he has a quality defensive roster and Metta World Peace to implement on him. Classic matchup: superstar power versus coaching stratagem.

5. Next Generation: Norris Cole and Darius Morris could have a lot to say about this game Thursday night. Cole provides a full-speed, no hesitation bucket creator for the Heat they desperately need coming off the bench. Morris provides an athletic point guard, which they haven't had in eons. Derek Fisher's savvy and Mario Chalmers' athleticism and improved shooting should cancel one another out, which means whichever guard can make the most of the attention drawn by their superstar big brothers will make a big swing in a game that features a lot of veterans in role positions. You hate for a game to come down to two rookies, but considering the matchups, whichever handles the pressure better could help their team to a monstrous win.

Your Plus-3 for the game:

- Don't be surprised to see Chris Bosh heavily involved in trying to draw out Pau Gasol, who has struggled with defense in space this season. Bosh has excelled at the pump fake and go, but if his jumper isn't falling, Gasol can pack the lane along with Bynum, keeping the Heat in mid-range jumper mode.

- The odds of a physical conflict in this game are pretty high. Between Udonis Haslem, Andrew Bynum, Bryant and Battier, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and the rest of the Heat bench, this will likely not be a pretty game.

- Mike Miller hit his shots against the Spurs in his first game back. He better hope he hasn't used them all up. The Lakers will bring a lot of help and cheat inside on drives, which means Miller will have looks. If he knocks them down, that puts the Lakers' defense into disarray.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:18 am
Edited on: January 17, 2012 1:29 am
 

Kobe passes on game-winner, Fisher hits 3

Posted by Royce Young



Monday's game between the Lakers and Mavericks was definitely strange. The two teams combined for just 143 points, the Lakers scored only seven points in the third quarter and Kobe Bryant passed on a game-winning shot attempt.

With the game tied 70-70 with nine seconds left, Kobe held the ball at the top of the key and swung it to an open Derek Fisher standing behind the 3-point line. With no hesitation, Fisher launched and nailed the go-ahead game-winning 3. This is after Kobe had gone for 40 or more in four straight games. Yet in this one, he finished just 7-22 from the floor for 14 points. So he deferred, which is not something you say often.

Was it the right play? Yeah, because it worked out. But in all honesty, what would you rather have: A deep Fisher 3, or a tough contested mid-range jumper from Kobe? Passing to the open man tends to be the smart basketball play and it was Monday because Fisher's shot went in. If not, then Kobe looks like an idiot for taking the ball out of his own hands.

And get this: Fisher scored nine of the Lakers' last 13 points. A strange night at Staples indeed.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:02 am
Edited on: January 14, 2012 1:06 am
 

Lakers' Steve Blake out 3-4 weeks with rib injury

Posted by Ben Golliver steve-blake-lal

Los Angeles Lakers reserve point guard Steve Blake is going to miss some time, after all.

The Lakers announced on Friday that Blake will be out "approximately 3-4 weeks" after suffering a rib cartilage injury during a game against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. 

The announcement comes one day after the Lakers issued a press release stating that an MRI had revealed "a costochaondral fracture (fracture of the cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum)" but that Blake was going to be listed as day-to-day, pending a re-evaluation.  

Blake played 18 minutes in L.A.'s game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday and the Lakers said in the release that Blake "re-aggravated" the injury during that game. Blake did not play during the Lakers' Friday night win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Blake, 31, is a key member of L.A.'s backcourt. A low-risk, low-reward, heady veteran spot-up shooter, Blake is averaging 7.3 points and 2.8 assists in 24.3 minutes per game so far this season.

In Blake's absence, Lakers coach Mike Brown turned to rookie guard Darius Morris against Cleveland. Expect that to continue, as the pickings are slim behind starters Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant

The Lakers are currently on a 5-game winning streak as they head into a Saturday night showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers

Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:19 am
 

3-on-2 Fast Break: Clippers vs. Lakers



3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Saturday night's showdown at Staples between the Los Angeles Cippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook

1. Let's keep it simple. Which of these two teams wins on Saturday night and why?  

Royce Young: Lakers. The Fighting Kobes are in a really good rhythm right now. Kobe is playing great, Andrew Bynum is looking dominant and all the pieces are fitting together. The Clippers kind of put all their eggs into the basket of beating the Heat and while I'm sure they'll be up for the Lakers, they've got to get past that overtime win first. And don't think the Lakers have forgotten everyone getting all excited about the Clips sweeping the two exhibition games at Staples in early December. People were talking about the changing of the guard in L.A., but those games didn't count. This one does. 

Ben Golliver: The Lakers have some serious positive momentum going thanks to a four-game winning streak which could become five if they top the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. That the Clippers get two rest days heading into this one while the Lakers are stuck with the back-to-back gives Lob City an edge, but that probably cancels out the revenge factor that the Lakers are feeling after getting wiped up in two highlight-filled preseason games. Chauncey Billups has hit double figures and shot at least 6 free throws in four consecutive games for the Clippers; they will need his production if they are to keep pace with Kobe Bryant and company. Chris Paul finally had his signature game with the Clippers, scoring 27 points and making 11 assists in a Wednesday win over Miami and he gave the Lakers fits in last year's playoffs. I see him doing it again on Saturday to give the Clippers the win.

Matt Moore: The matchups here are enough to make your head spin. All-Star, phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime guards? Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Behemoth young centers with size, strength and defensive ability? Andrew Bynum and DeAndre Jordan. Crafty veterans on the wings? Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes against Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and Mo Williams. Power forwards with huge scoring ability who are almost unguardable? Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin. It's a tight set of matchups. I like the Clippers in this one. We saw what Paul was able to do against the Lakers in the playoffs last year, and they haven't upgraded a defender to guard him yet. On the other end, Pau Gasol doesn't like it when things get physical and the Clippers are in-you-face as they come. Bryant can swing this as he can any game, but I like Lob City to open up and outrun the older Lakers. 

2. We know Kobe's going to score, Griffin's going to dunk, CP3 is going to dish, and Pau is going to do Pau things. But what's the big unknown in this game that will end up deciding it?  

Royce Young: Points in the paint. Who gets the most easy baskets? Both teams are pretty solid defensively and both teams have players that can fill it up. But jumpshots only carry teams so far, especially late in games. The Lakers have Bynum and Gasol who are paint monsters, while Griffin gets a lot of his easy in transition. Execution will be tough because you know this game will be physical. It's going to come down to the little things like free throws, turnovers and again, easy baskets in the paint. Both teams can defend it well, but who is going to break down the other defense enough to score simple points. 

Ben Golliver: 
The answer to the big unknown question is always Andrew Bynum. He poured in his career-high 42 points against DeAndre Jordan back in 2009 and he's shown spurts of serious offensive productivity in this young season. Given that the game is on the second end of a back-to-back there's no guarantee that Bynum can fully exploit what is an exceedingly difficult match-up for Jordan. The only person who can keep Bynum off the offensive glass in this one is himself. The Clippers are second-to-worst in rebound rate on the young season and Jordan can be bullied with Bynum's width and strength. 

Matt Moore:  
Turnovers. The Lakers have turned the ball over a stunning amount this season up until the past few games, also notably the best games of Bryant's season. The Lakers are last in turnover percentage differential, while the Clippers are top-four in that same category. The Clippers also rank 3rd in transition offense according to Synergy Sports. The Lakers are ninth in transition defense. If the Clippers can get out and run, that's going to put more wear and tear on an older and banged up Lakers team. But if the Lakers get to grind it out, expect the Lakers' superior experience to win the day.
Posted on: November 26, 2011 3:15 am
Edited on: November 26, 2011 4:02 am
 

NBA, Players 'reach tentative agreement'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

After representatives of the NBA and its players met for 15 hours of labor negotiations Friday into Saturday, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com first reported that a "tentative agreement [was] reached, according to one of the negotiators."

The lengthy face-to-face meeting re-opened negotiations after the National Basketball Players Association disbanded to file an antitrust lawsuit against the league last week.

Talks began at noon Friday and ran past 3 a.m. Saturday morning. The NBA and its players held a joint press conference after 3:30 a.m. to announce the tentative deal.

"We have reached a tentative understanding," NBA commissioner David Stern confirmed. "We're optimistic that the NBA season will come to pass on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, with a triple-header."

Training camps would begin on Dec. 9, according to Stern, if everything plays out as expected. Yahoo Sports reported that free agency and training camps would open concurrently once the deal is approved by both sides.

Former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter repeated Stern's message.

"I want to announce... that we are happy that we have been able to reach a tentative litigation settlement," Hunter said. "We're going to turn it all over to the lawyers ... and see how that proceeds ... "Once we present it (to players), we're confident they will support it."

The three games originally scheduled for Christmas Day include: the Boston Celtics at the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat at the Dallas Mavericks, and the Chicago Bulls at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stern said that the league has scheduled a conference call with the NBA's Labor Relations Committee to present the proposed agreement on Saturday. The NBPA must re-form its union to ratify the agreement as well. This step is considered a formality.

"We want to play basketball," said San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, head of the NBA's Labor Relations Committee. "Let's go play basketball."

Here's video of Stern and Hunter announcing tentative agreement on Saturday morning.



Berger reported that, in addition to former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, former NBPA president Derek Fisher and former NBPA board member Maurice Evans, the players were led into the negotiations by attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy. The league was represented by Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, Holt and NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan. NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who recently said that Stern treated NBA players "like plantation workers," was not present.

The two sides reportedly exchanged "back-channel" communication on Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 10, when the NBA made its latest formal proposal to the players, which was rejected, as the players opted to file suit instead. 

Saturday is the 159th day of the ongoing NBA lockout.
Posted on: November 26, 2011 3:00 am
Edited on: November 26, 2011 3:12 am
 

NBA, Players 'reach tentative agreement'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Representatives of the NBA and its players met for more than 15 hours on Friday in New York City to reopen face-to-face labor negotiations after the National Basketball Players Association disbanded to file file an antitrust lawsuit against the league last week. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a "tentative agreement reached, according to one of the negotiators." 

Talks began at noon Friday and ran past 3 a.m. Saturday morning. 

The two sides are reportedly aiming to hammer out an agreement that would allow the NBPA to salvage a 66-game regular season that would begin on Christmas Day. It is assumed that the NBA needs a roughly 1-month lead time to get a new season up and running, and Friday was exactly one month prior to Christmas.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that, in addition to former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, former NBPA president Derek Fisher and former NBPA board member Maurice Evans, the players were led into the negotiations by attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy. The league was represented by NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt and NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan. NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who recently said that Stern treated NBA players "like plantation workers," was not present, although Yahoo reported he did participate via conference call.  

The two sides reportedly exchanged "back-channel" communication on Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 10, when the NBA made its latest formal proposal to the players, which was rejected, as the players opted to file suit instead. 

Saturday is the 159th day of the ongoing NBA lockout.

This post will update with more information. 
Posted on: November 16, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 3:23 pm
 

For players, it's become too emotional

Posted by Royce Young

When Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher and 60 some-odd players stood behind a podium Monday afternoon after a players' meeting, most expected them to announce they'd be putting the league's proposal to a vote. Or at least, announce they're making a counter.

But that didn't happen. Instead, it was doomsday.

I think you, probably like me, were left wondering one thing: Why? What are the players thinking? The chances of them actually winning a lawsuit are slim. The chances of them recouping their losses in a new collective bargaining agreement are probably even slimmer. And yet instead of pushing forward and trying to push the pressure back on the league and owners to accept their revised deal, they decided to blow it up. They didn't even try and mask it. During their press conference they even said that. They wanted to completely detonate the current negotiations.

Again: Why?

Because players are emotional. This isn't a negotiation anymore. It's a fight. The owners have always tried to approach this as a business deal and the players met them on that -- until now. Consider this quote from Kevin Durant over the weekend:

“I know we get paid handsomely but we deserve to fight for something that’s right,” he told HoopsWorld. “We feel that they’re trying to strong-arm us and back us into a corner just to accept the deal. Of course they’re going to bluff and show the fans, try to put the fans against us like they’re the good guys and we’re the bad guys.

“I think getting what you deserve and fighting for something you believe is right is something all the players really care about,” he continued.  “Of course we enjoy the fans, we like the fans that come and support us.  They’re the reason why we’re playing this game, the reason why we continue to play this game but at some point you have to fight for what’s right and we can’t get bullied.”

That, says it all. In a game setting, if Nene throws a shoulder into Kendrick Perkins, Perkins is not only going to shove him back, but Durant and the rest of the team is going to back up their teammate. It's just their nature. That's what's happening here. David Stern just gave Derek Fisher an elbow. And here come his teammates.

Billy Hunter said on a podcast that this has become a "moral" issue for the players. At the time, it just seemed like talk to try and scare the league. But clearly it's not. This is an emotional thing. And players are extremely emotional. They live off it. It's what drives them. They're competitive, emotional and passionate. Prideful.

So why would we expect anything less from them now, especially after they were backed into a corner by David Stern's ultimatum? The players wanted to stand and fight instead of just taking their medicine from the rich guys running the league.

I think Jerry Stackhouse said it well while ripping Derek Fisher. "Players are emotional. Players get emotional," he said. "So no, I don't necessarily, particularly want Derek Fisher or any of the executive committee negotiating a contract for me."

I mean, Hunter actually called the hard salary cap a "blood issue," meaning, I guess, that the players would rather die than give in to that. That's what the owners are negotiating against. It's nothing really all that new to them as they've haggled over contracts and extensions with players for years, but now the players are collectively fighting. At least that's the appearance.

I understand taking a stand for what you think is right. A tip of the cap to that. But this isn't a fight against poverty or injustice to children or something. This is about business. A $4 billion one, in fact. One in which the employees are paid more than $5 million per year annually on average.

At some point, the players are going to have to approach it that way. I'm all for doing what you think is right. If the players were being greedy, they would've just accepted this deal, cashed their paychecks and forgot all about it. But instead, they're sacrificing for future generations of players. They're taking a hit not for themselves necessarily, but to one, set a new precedent that says the players won't be bullied and two, give the future players of the NBA a decent system to play in.

But this is a business decision. And sometimes, looking it as a moral dilemma isn't what's wise. Because in the end, players typically end up getting screwed in these situations. It's a bad idea to operate in this atmosphere running on emotion. You have to always keep your head and make sure every move makes sense not just in terms of saving face, but also actual dollars and cents. You can't let pride interrupt what's wise. That's a challenge every busisnessperson has to face on a daily basis.

This court battle is exactly what David Stern called it: It's a tactic. Nothing more. The players want a deal. The owners want a deal. Nobody wants to go to court and actually sue for damages. That's not the plan here, though if both sides remain stubborn, it will be. What both sides want is to get back to playing basketball. It's just all about playing cards right now and throwing out bets that hopefully force the other side to give a little. They very well may have pushed all-in there and could lose every chip they have, but they're not going to fold. They're going to go down in a blaze.

Why didn't the players just take the deal and move on? It's the best deal they'll probably get and despite it not being fair one bit, it might not matter. The reason is because that's not how they're bred. That's not what's in them. They aren't just going to give up. You back a professional athlete into a corner and tell him he has to lose and he's going to fight back. It's like Walter White in Breaking Bad. The players are trying to tell the league, "I am the one who knocks." It's all about grabbing the upper hand.

Don't wonder why the players didn't just take the NBA's offer. Because the reason should be obvious. It's just not what they do.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com