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Category: Derek Fisher

Mike Brown may sit Derek Fisher for Monday's game vs. Clippers

It's possible Lakers guard Derek Fisher will sit out in Monday's exhibition game against the Clippers for the same reason he remained sidelined during the Lakers' intrasquad scrimmage Friday at USC.

"[We'll] continue to let him get in playing shape for us," said Lakers Coach Mike Brown Brown, though he hasn't made a definitive decision regarding Fisher's playing status.

Although team accounts suggest Fisher arrived in training camp well-conditioned and in shape, both Fisher and Brown have both said he needs to catch up in that area. Fisher's off-season workouts were compromised because of his role as the NBA Players' Assn. president during the labor negotiations. Fisher didn't talk to reporters after Sunday's practice but he spoke in general terms Saturday on how he's striking a balance between practicing and resting.

"Just listening to your body and respecting the fact that, although we're a team, we have individual needs in terms of rest, recovery and preparation," said Fisher, at 37 a 16-year league veteran. "We obviously have to have a coach who's willing to work with you and be open to communicating about those things. That's essentially where it falls for me."

Meanwhile, Brown plans to play Kobe Bryant in the low 30-minute range. He's also considering starting Matt Barnes or Devin Ebanks at starting forward and then rotating for the Lakers' second preseason game against the Clippers on Wednesday.

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— Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Derek Fisher's starting role comes at different circumstances

A new head coach, a new offense and a new push to upgrade at point guard left Derek Fisher's starting job in doubt.

Of course, some Lakers fans have clamored for years for this. Fisher can't keep up with speedy guards, they said. They noticed his inconsistent shooting. And though he brought locker-room clout and experience, those traits simply went ignored by his critics.

But amid the rapid change the Lakers have experienced since the NBA lockout ended, one thing remains the same: Coach Mike Brown has penciled in Fisher as his starting point guard.

"For me, I don't really assume one way or the other what's going to happen coming into a training camp," Fisher said. "I've never been given or guaranteed anything by any coach."

But in this case, Brown's plan to follow Phil Jackson's lead and keep Fisher at starting point guard hardly comes as a ringing endorsement. Fisher surely would've lost the spot had the Lakers secured Chris Paul, and Brown opened training camp saying it was only "possible" Fisher would keep his starting job.

And although Brown said he believes Fisher "fits better with the starting group" because of his experience, he made it clear that could change.

Continue reading »

Chris Paul trade: Derek Fisher kept hands-off approach

The differing and sometimes conflicting allegiances made Derek Fisher's role as the players union president rather dicey.

Once the NBA nixed a three-team trade that would've sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, the NBA Players Association kept open the possibility it could file lawsuits against the league. After all, it had spent the past five months negotiating a new labor deal, partly that centered on a player's mobility in the open market. And the NBA, which owns the Hornets franchise, put itself in a compromising situation when it blocked the trade, citing "basketball reasons," despite numerous claims the Hornets' front office would always maintain independence.

Everything settled with the Clippers acquiring Paul in a trade that sent Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Faroug Aminu and a first-round pick originally acquired from Minnesota. But throughout the process, Fisher maintained a minimal role, and the reasons have nothing to do with the Lakers guard worrying Paul could steal his starting spot. Delegating to executive director Billy Hunter had everyhing to avoiding the perception Fisher was working on behalf of the Lakers. 

"I'm obviously up to breast on all of the situations," Fisher said. "But I try to in a sense remove myself from the details of a lot of individual player transacitons and situations."

Paul initially threatened to file a lawsuit against the NBA last week when it blocked the trade that would've sent him to the Lakers, Lamar Odom, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin to New Orleans and Pau Gasol to Houston. But Fisher said that Paul told the union to hold off on filing any lawsuits to avoid a lengthy litigation fight.

"It was really Chris' call to hold off to see if there was a solution that can be found," Fisher said. "I haven't spoken to Chris since the trade went down with the Clippers. But I'm assuming that he's okay with it and hopefully we will be able to move on."

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--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Mike Brown to start Derek Fisher -- but not Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace

The Lakers continue to make moves.

But in this case it has nothing to do with the "big deals" General Manager Mitch Kupchak wanted to make. For the pessimistic, it has everything to do with shuffling the deck of a sinking ship. For the optimistic, it has everything to do with making adjustments and upgrading from within. Or perhaps, a bit of both.

After the Lakers missed out on acquiring Chris Paul, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he's planning on starting Derek Fisher at point guard because of his experience and locker-room standing, though he stressed it's not a binding decision. What appears more binding involves playing Metta World Peace off the bench. And the player formerly known as Ron Artest loves the idea.

"It's going to be good," said World Peace, who last season averaged a career-low 8.5 points per game in 29.4 minutes per contest. "I get a chance to come in with extra responsibility, which I've had my whole career. It's going to put the other team off balance. When Kobe [Bryant], Pau [Gasol] and [Andrew] Bynum are out, you still have to double-team me. You can't leave me open. At all times on the floor, there will be a threat."

The Lakers sure hope so. They face plenty of uncertainty, regarding what direction the front office will take after shipping Lamar Odom and a second-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks for an $8.9-million trade exception and a first-round pick. Lakers center Andrew Bynum will serve a five-game suspension because of his forearm shove on Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the 2011 playoffs, moving Pau Gasol to center and recently acquired free-agent forward Josh McRoberts to power forward. Meanwhile, Brown said he's considering starting Matt Barnes, Luke Walton or Devin Ebanks at small forward. That, of course, is assuming the Lakers don't trade away  more players.

For now, however, there's one more stable position, beyond Kobe Bryant remaining on the team.

"I don't assume one way or the other what's going to happen coming into training camp," Fisher said. "I've never been given or guaranteed anything by any coach."

RELATED: 

Derek Fisher should still be named starting point guard

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Forward Metta World Peace -- yes, formerly Ron Artest -- towels off during the end of the Lakers' first practice on Friday in El Segundo. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / December 9, 2011

Lakers' championship hopes hinge on front office moves

The damage is done and, for better or worse, there's no going back.

The Lakers traded Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, leaving the defending champions harder to beat and the purple & gold without a key reserve and trade chip.

This would prove to be a genius move only if Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak somehow flipped the $8.9 million trade exception and future first-round pick they received in the deal from the Mavericks into something bigger. That could involve acquiring mid-level talent and/or utilizing the amnesty clause to create extra chips toward a blockbuster deal. Or it could involve remaining open to trading anyone except Kobe Bryant.

Either way, the Lakers' title hopes hinge more on what Lakers owner Jerry Buss, executive Jim Buss and Kupchak do in the negotiating room than what Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum do on the court. Kupchack has worked tirelessly, roughly 14 to 18 hour days, since the lockout ended. But even if he said in an interview with reporters Monday that the Lakers are "pursuing big deals," he acknowledged nothing remains imminent. 

As everyone has found out since training camp started, trade talks twist and change as fast as sending out a 140-character tweet. But the longer the Lakers go without making a signficant trade or free-agent acquisition, the more likely the purple & gold might as well just forget about enjoying a championship parade down Figueroa Street. 

Continue reading »

Lamar Odom trade: Lakers reach a crossroads

Racing to assemble a championship roster, the Lakers' front office finds itself at a crossroads.

Which way the team goes will quickly determine whether General Manager Mitch Kupchak and executive Jim Buss will give the Lakers a more solid foundation or cause them irreparable damage. The Lakers just traded versatile forward and locker-room favorite Lamar Odom and a 2012 second-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks for a 2012 first-round pick and an $8.9-milliion trade exception. Will this just save the Lakers nearly $18 million in salary and luxury taxes? Or will it help the Lakers land Magic center Dwight Howard or in some other way prove to be a cunning move?

The trade prompted Kobe Bryant to fume, "I don't like it," saying the Lakers appeared to receive nothing in return for last season's sixth man of the year. But in his next breath, a composed Bryant gives Kupchak a vote of confidence.

"We got to let Mitch do his job," Bryant said. "Mitch has proven himself through the course of the years that he can build a great team. We have to have all trust that he's going to do that. That being said, it's still hard to see one of my friends and one of our great players go somewhere, especially that team, seemingly for nothing. Whether they have something else going on, that's on them to decide. But it's tough."

Continue reading »

Derek Fisher admits possible Chris Paul trade reduces playing time

The writing remains on the wall, and Derek Fisher reads it pretty clearly. 

Should the Lakers acquire Chris Paul in a trade, the 15-year veteran and five-time NBA champion would surely lose his starting position and see less playing time. 

"He will be one of the all-time greats as long as he stays healthy and keeps doing what he's doing," Fisher said of Paul. "From that standpoint, of course" he would want Paul on his team.

"But from a personal competitive standpoint, of course I would want to play as many minutes as I can, and someone of his caliber coming to play my position means I would play less."

Of course, few Laker fans are shedding tears for Fisher, who in recent seasons have always sparked some clamorings for the Lakers to acquire a quicker and younger. "For years I've been accustomed to playing with the understanding," Fisher said, "that there's always a need for improvement at the point guard position, so that's not new news at all."

But Fisher's acknowledgement about his conflicted feelings hardly suggests it'd create locker room friction. He said he likes "Chris personally," based on his experience working with him as a player union committee member during the recent labor negotiations. Fisher admitted the demotion would be deserving. And even if he's shared in seasons past he holds a starting position in high regard, Fisher accepted a bench demotion when the Lakers brought in Gary Payton for the 2003-04 seaosn.

Barring the Lakers trading Fisher away this season, he'd still hold value to the team even with Paul in the lineup. 

"What he brings to the table is hard to replace," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said of Fisher. 

Brown already witnessed first hand when he saw Fisher and Kobe Bryant address the team Friday about not letting the NBA's business aspect affecting their on-court professionalism. The media saw it on the court during Saturday's practice when Fisher threw a lob toward Andrew Bynum that he slammed home with one hand. And regardless of whether his statistical performance improves or remains stagnant, Fisher has already proven to be a key piece in helping Brown reach his players. 

"I don' try to overdo it or ovesell what I'm capable of," Fisher said when asked how he'll approach trying to maintain his playing time. "I just try to come in and work as hard as I can."

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Derek Fisher criticizes David Stern for nixing Chris Paul trade

As the team's point guard, Derek Fisher surely knows what would happen should the Lakers pick up Chris Paul in a trade.

Fisher would immediately lose his starting job. His playing time would likely shrink. And who knows whether the Lakers would still value the locker room presence he continually provides.

Said Fisher: "It would have a great impact on having a guy like Chris on our team."

But as the president of the National Basketball Players Assn., Fisher strongly disagrees with Commissioner David Stern spiking a three-team trade that would've sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets and Lamar Odom to the Hornets. The move validates Phil Jackson's prediction that the NBA overseeing the New Orleans franchise creates conflict of interest. It contradicts the system issues the owners afforded to the players union to maintain market leverage. And it sets up a bad precedent for future trades involving any team dealing with the Hornets

"There shouldn’t be arbitrary reasons why guys can or cannot get traded," Fisher said Friday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "If two teams want to make a deal and things work and things work and it’s within the parameters and the boundaries of the CBA, it shouldn’t be held up for reasons other than those things."

Paul has reportedly threatened to file a lawsuit against the league, but Fisher maintained the players union will keep a wait-and-see approach after ratifying the labor agreement on Thursday. Meanwhile, The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner report the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets continue talks in trying to find a deal to the league's liking.

"We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and it seems to change every few minutes. It’s hard to say what decisions will be made until this thing plays itself out, because there’s so much at stake for so many different players and teams involved," Fisher said. "Hopefully a solution is found sooner rather than later."

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Steve Blake says he's indifferent about starting at point guard

Before the Chris Paul trade got nixed, who would claim the Lakers' starting point guard spot remained one of the pressing questions for the 2011-12 season?

But once it appeared the Lakers would acquire Paul, that question suddenly became moot. Before everyone could wonder how the Lakers could shore up their frontline depth without Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, however, the NBA soon killed the Lakers-Rockets-Hornets deal for what they call "basketball reasons." Now everything appropriately centers on how Gasol and Odom will handle returning to a team that wanted to ship them out, and whether the Lakers can ever acquire Paul and Dwight Howard. 

After Thursday's voluntary workouts at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo, Blake shed a dose of perspective on how the Lakers should react to any changes big or small.

PHOTOS: Lakers' season-opening practice

"I've been playing eight years and I've seen it all," said Blake, though he uttered those words before the NBA killed the Paul deal. "I've been traded and seen guys get traded. Now it's just the way it is. You don't think anything else of it. If there's a change, you adjust and you move on. There's no harping on it or mentally thinking about it all the time. It's just part of your job and you move forward."

For Blake's part, that includes handling without much reaction Mike Brown's revelation that he's keeping the starting point guard open. Both Blake and Derek Fisher are coming off sub-par seasons, but who starts at point guard reveals to what degree Brown still values Fisher's experience and locker-room clout. 

"I'm going to try to be the best player I can be," said Blake, who's added some strength and has added some arc to his shot after averaging a career-low four points per game on 35.9% shooting. "I'm not going out there to try to win a starting job or anything like that. Everyone on this team is my teammate. I'm not here to try to show them up or beat them. I just want our team to be better. Whether it's coming off the bench, fine. Starting, great. It's all about us winning a championship this year."

RELATED:

Lakers can upgrade outside shooting from within

 --Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Derek Fisher juggling labor negotiations and training

There Derek Fisher stood in the Lakers' practice facility hoisting jumpers and practicing free-throws.

On the surface, it seemed to be an ordinary routine. In reality, it signified a much more pleasant scenario than what's consumed him this off-season. Instead of wearing his practice jersey Friday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo, Fisher has mostly spent this summer in New York in suits negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement as the National Basketball Players Association president.

The new labor deal isn't expected to be ratified until sometime next week. Fisher joked about the lacking sense of finality when he and Coach Mike Brown talked across the court. Brown put a finger to his lips, alluding to the team's restrictions to speaking with players before the NBA lockout formally ends. In turn, Fisher remarked he doesn't want to say anything with several cameras focused on him. With Fisher conceding the negotiating process has proved to be an "exhausting ordeal," he clearly sees the finish line. 

"It's nice to get back into this particular gym and thinking about basketball again," he said. "But until it's done, it's not done. But I'm looking forward to starting camp next week."

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said, "I don't worry too much about Derek" and his conditioning level. Brown called Fisher "one tough of a gun." But it's indisputable that Fisher will face more uncertainties in the next few weeks beyond labor negotiations and fitting in time to train. With Brown featuring a more traditional offense than the triangle, it's possible Fisher's role could diminish. When asked whether he envisions Fisher remaining the starter, Brown simply said, "Possibly. When we get to camp and everything shakes out, I'll have a better feel." 

But for now, Fisher will soon put basketball matters aside and return to New York sometime next week to continue negotiations. 

"I've always worked hard at everything I've done," Fisher said. "That's no more different than this time. It's a little more challenging approach to things. But I found a way to get it done."

RELATED:

Derek Fisher should still be named starting point guard

Bond between Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant key in the Mike Brown era

How can the Lakers upgrade at point guard?

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

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