The Lakers agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the veteran guard, bringing back a steadying locker-room influence and one of their top clutch shooters of the last decade. The contract was believed to be worth about $10.5 million, including a player option in the third year.
"I have decided to continue with Kobe, continue with our teammates and the fans of Los Angeles," Fisher said in a statement. "While this may not be the most lucrative contract I've been offered this off-season, it is the most valuable. I am confident I will continue to lead this team on and off the court. Let the hunt for six begin. . . ."
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Listen closely and you’ll hear Laker-nation – led by the great Kobe Bryant - letting out a massive sigh of relief.
After all, the purple-and-gold had to have Derek Fisher. The emphasis is on ‘had to’. It wasn’t optional.
The veteran is 36 years old, flops like he`s on the Italian national soccer team, has limits on both ends of the floor, and was surprisingly given the security of a three-year deal.
However, Fisher oozes leadership, has Robert Horry style skills down the stretch, and mediates like the UN when resident superstar Kobe Bryant and Coach Phil Jackson have a ‘tiff’.
Best of all, he can groom his replacement Steve Blake. Like Fisher, Blake is an assassin disguised as a nice guy.
Sure, the former University of Maryland star looks like he should be leading the Dungeons and Dragons club at the local comic shop instead of Jackson’s triple-post set or playing internet chess on Friday evenings instead of the cross-town Clippers.
Don’t get it twisted: Blake is a good guy off-court, but feisty as hell on it. In December of 2007, he sparked the Blazers’ turnaround by breaking chairs and fighting teammates at a now infamous practice. And he’s also known to dabble in mixed martial arts –for fun.
Look for Fisher to take to Blake. Look for Fisher to groom Blake. And this will cement Fisher’s legacy long after he’s gone.
This will be a great relief for Laker-nation.
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
"Count me in," Jackson said in a statement. "After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It'll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one."
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He couldn't pass on the possibility of a three-peat.
After much deliberation, thought, and posturing, Phil Jackson - the Hall of Fame sideline boss - will be back to coach the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Jackson's return had been complicated by a power struggle in the Lakers' front office and ownership's request he take a reduction on his $12 million per season contract.
Of course, there are lingering issues for Jackson and the Buss clan, who own the Lakers, to settle. For instance, coach and ownership must agree on the size of his pay cut and whether free agents Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Derek Fisher will be re-signed.
Still, the chance to win three consecutive championships for the fourth time in his career was too much for The Zen to ignore.
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.
Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.
Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.
This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.
The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.
Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.
Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.
Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.
Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.
That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:
1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.
2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.
Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.
Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.
Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.
Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Lamar Odom is grabbing rebounds and bouncing a little when dribbling up-court. Ron Artest doesn't resemble a lost tourist in the triangle. Pau Gasol asserts his will in the paint. Instead of pacing the sideline and dropping quotes about collecting oneself, Phil Jackson is laying back in his throne -also known as The Ergonomically Correct Chair. Kobe Braynt is 'facilitating' rather than scoring. Sasha Vujacic, the self proclaimed machine, is knocking down three-pointers, alienating opponents, and styling his straight-outta-Slovenia do. And those celebs' rocking courtside seats at Staples Center are flashing their Hollywood smiles for ABC.
If you haven't guessed it, these are signs the Los Angeles Lakers are winning. However, there is a notable omission: Shannon Brown's highlight reel jams.
The purple-and-gold always seems to win when the 2010 Sprite Slam Dunk Gets On Up like Jodeci and rocks the rim for two points.
(Yes, HoopsVibe News is referencing the classically cheesy R&B group from the 1990s. And sadly, HoopsVibe News is old enough to legitimately do so.)
Consider game-six of the NBA Finals. First Brown rammed home a one-handed breakaway jam and then he rubbed his man off an Odom back-pick, grabbed an alley-oop toss and converted an amazing jam.
Both dunks inspired teammates and fans. Not surprisingly, the Lakers won game-six of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
And they're hoping -at least in California - that Brown repeats his aerial antics in game-seven, even if it's got that Jodeci thing going on.
Got thoughts? Did Brown Get On Up like Jodeci.
Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and and perhaps LeBron James.
"I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State," Izzo said in a statement released by the school on Tuesday night.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Tom Izzo made the right decision -not just for himself, but also for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The NBA is an adjustment. The game is different; the players are millionaire businessmen not teenagers. And many great college coaches have failed in the pros: John Calipari, Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian.
Then there was the tiny issue of LeBron James' pending free agency. Izzo would be in quite the quagmire if he accepted the Cavaliers job and James signed elsewhere.
In the end, the risk was too great. So Izzo decided to stay with Michigan State and become an all-time great in the college ranks.
Meanwhile, Cleveland will continue searching for a sideline boss. Byron Scott is the frontrunner; however, the former Hornets coach wants to replace Phil Jackson in LA -if the Zen-Master leaves.
Mike Woodson, who was recently fired by the Atlanta Hawks, is also under consideration. And this is where the musical chairs could occur. Suppose Cleveland hires Woodson and James leaves. The Cavaliers could replace James with Joe Johnson, another superstar free agent who Woodson coached in Atlanta.
The next few months will be interesting in Ohio and throughout the NBA.
Got thoughts on this?
These have been forgettable games for Lamar Odom, a sixth man gone asunder in the most important series of the season.
The Lakers aren't playing Phoenix any longer, as Odom could definitely attest, the 14 points and 11.8 rebounds he averaged in the Western Conference finals apparently a thing of the past now that the Lakers are playing Boston in the NBA Finals.
Odom had a five-point, five-foul debacle in Game 1 that somehow got worse Sunday in Game 2, when he finished with three points and five fouls in the Lakers' 103-94 loss.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He is the Los Angeles Lakers’ barometer.
When Lamar Odom has his A-game, the Lakers are unbeatable. No other team can bring a versatile, play all five positions type off the bench?
But Odom is somewhat of an enigma. Most of the time, he's brilliant. Some of the time, he disappears.
For instance, former coach and ABC broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy often calls the four-man a top thirty player in the NBA.
At times, such praise is warranted. Last year, he was brilliant as a sixth man for the purple-and-gold. And years ago, he looked like the second coming of Magic Johnson when he led an upstart Miami Heat squad to the second round.
Odom's reputation for going MIA prompted Phoenix Suns star Amar’e Stoudemire to call his 19 point, 19 rebound performance in game one of the Western Conference Finals 'lucky'.
Unfortunately Odom has vanished through the first two games of the NBA Finals (he's averaging a sub par 4 points and 4 rebounds). This doesn’t bode well for the Lakers, so here’s how Coach Jackson fixes the situation:
1) Go to Odom early and often. The coaches must put him in the game no later than half way through the first quarter.
2) Get him involved. Derek Fisher or Kobe Bryant, the veteran leaders, should call a play or two for him in the half court set.
3) ‘Run, Lamar, Run’. Odom needs to use his length and athleticism to score easy points in transition.
4) Get on the glass. Odom is at his best when grabbing rebounds. The other parts of his game follows suit.
Got thoughts on how the Lakers get Odom going?
The Los Angeles Lakers crushed the Boston Celtics in the first game of the NBA Finals, 102-89. Kobe Bryant cleaned up with 30 points on 10-22 shooting (1-2 from three, 9-10 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 4 turnovers. Pau Gasol produced 23 points on 8-14 shooting (7-10 from the line) to go with 14 boards (8 offensive), 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, and 3 turnovers. At one point, the Lakers were up by 20. The most alarming stat is Phil Jackson’s 47-0 perfect record when he leads his team to a game one victory. Wow.Read More
HoopsVibe's Quick Call: With several days lag time between the conference finals and championship series, it's understandable if fans are restless.
After all, you've watched numerous panel hits on TNT and NBATV; you've listened to analysts on satellite radio; you've read about match-ups on-line and in newspapers; and you've been tormented by the know-it-all at the office water cooler.
Well, the NBA Finals isn't quite here. However, HoopsVibe News has the next best thing: video of the Los Angeles Lakers talking about their upcoming series with the Boston Celtics.
As usual, watch the clip and get us with thoughts in the comment box below.
Los Angeles coach coach Phil Jackson and Game 5 hero Ron Artest had different takes on comments made by Steve Nash.
"Maybe we deserved this game, maybe we didn't," Nash said during a postgame news conference Thursday night. "But we lost. And they held home court. We'll go back and do the same and we'll come back here for Game 7."
"What else is he going to say?" Jackson asked. "'We're going to go home and lose?'"
Fresh off his game-winning shot in Game 5, Artest took the comments another way.
"That's like no respect," Artest said after Lakers practice Friday afternoon. "No respect. No respect for us."
HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Ron Artest has a case of the 'Aretha Franklins' and he's blaming Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash.
The forward believes Nash doesn't respect the L.A. Lakers because he suggested the Suns may have deserved a better fate in game five. Of course, Artest was the hero Thursday with a last second bank shot that gave the purple-and-gold the win.
As usual, Artest's perspective is unique. Nash likely meant no offence and Lakers coach Phil Jackson interpreted his comments as such.
Oh yeah, it's worth noting Artest was late for Friday's practice. No word on whether his tardiness showed a lack of respect.
Is Ron Artest right? Did Steve Nash disrespect the Lakers?
In episode seven of Out of Bounds, Marija Kero runs through the draft lottery fall-out, Mikhail Prokhorov's comments and tackles the issue of Phil Jackson's comically large courtside seat.Read More
This has been a wild month for the Chicago Bulls organization. The whispers of LeBron, Chris Bosh, and now Phil Jackson as head coach have been spreading around the NBA like wildfire. Can the unthinkable occur? How is this even possible? This is something that the rest of the league does not want to happen. The perfect storm might be brewing somewhere in the background of the conference finals. Many people’s feelings are getting hurt around the internet if you are not a Chicago Bulls fan. This team can possibly acquire Videogame James, CB4, and Phil Jackson?Read More
Usually in professional sports, the coach is selling the free agent player on his team as a potential destination. The Los Angeles Clippers are prepared to take a different approach. As the only team without a coach that doesn't appear to be looking, reports say that the Clippers are prepared to offer big-name free agents something in addition to the maximum contract: pick your own coach. That's right, the plan in Los Angeles might be to use the coaching vacancy as an additional draw to free agents like Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and even Lebron James. They all know they will get the maximum salary, but where else can they pick their coach?
HoopsVibe Call: It's why the Clippers are the Clippers. And it's why they'll remain a league laughingstock.
Despite having talented players, coaches, and executives, Los Angeles' other team can't get their act together. Allowing star free agents like Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and even Dwyane Wade to pick their next coach is another example of their lunacy.
Good organizations don't let the inmates - regardless of how talented Bosh, James, and Wade are - run the asylum. For instance, in San Antonio, Tim Duncan has always deferred to coach Gregg Popovich, which forces his teammates to listen to the veteran sideline boss.
Across town, Kobe Bryant, like it or not, follows Laker coach Phil Jackson -even though he oftens seems more like the duplicitous Machiavelli than the peaceful Zen-Master. And Michael Jordan also followed Jackson when they won six NBA Titles with the Chicago Bulls.
Having a player - regardless of how great he is - select their next coach makes that coach a subordinate. And this is a recipe for disaster. Of course, leave it to the Clippers, one of the worst organizations in pro sport, to make this blunder.
Should Bosh, James, or Wade get to pick the Clippers' next coach? Should any player get to pick his coach? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.
Can Lamar Odom's 19 points and 19 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 128-107 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals be attributed to something as trivial as his uniform number, lucky No. 7?
Phoenix's Amar'e Stoudemire seems to think so.
Odom barely batted an eyelash when told about Stoudemire's claim after the Lakers finished practice.
"So be it," Odom said. "Hopefully I can have another lucky one."
HoopsVibe's Call: The game behind the game is in full effect.
Instead of Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson making random references about the cowbells of Sacramento or the state of Arizona's immigrations laws, the Phoenix Suns' Amar'e Stoudemire surprisingly took a swipe at forward Lamar Odom.
The reason: Stoudemire knows Odom, specifically his length, presents problems for the Suns, so he's trying to gain any possible edge against the man, Odom, who made cameos in Jadakiss videos and Entourage episodes.
We'll see if STAT's strategy pays dividends in game two on Wednesday evening.
Got thoughts on Stoudemire calling out Odom? Get at us in the comment box below.
The 36-year-old Nash is averaging 17.8 points and 9.0 assists per game in the postseason after averaging 13.8 points and 9.0 assists in four regular-season games against L.A.
The first Tweet read: "So many media tried to blow up the comments. Lol Me and Phil are it's just healthier being direct to me rather than media first." He posted several other times before wrapping up his thoughts on the subject with a two-part Tweet.
The Quick Hit: For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Orlando Magic, it’s all or nothing.
The all is having Commissioner David Stern hand over the Larry O’Brien trophy in two months and pronounce them world champions in a champagne soaked ceremony.
Only the all will do. Only the all will satisfy their demanding fan base. Only the all will satisfy their demanding owners, who have taken on multi-million dollar luxury tax payments for this precise moment.
While nothing, or falling short of an NBA Title, will force Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Orlando to make wholesale changes this off-season. Right or wrong, fair or not, these are the stakes when playing for a contender.