The Lakers had been looking to bring in a quality point guard at the trade deadline (and they did in a deal for Ramon Sessions).
But nobody expected them to ship out Derek Fisher.
But that’s what they did just before the trade deadline, shipping Fisher along with a first-round pick to Houston for reserve big man Jordan Hill.
Lakers fans started asking why? This is Derek Fisher. He of the five rings. He of 0.4. The Laker who has been so clutch for them over the years. The one guy on the roster Kobe Bryant trusts in the big moment (although Andrew Bynum seems to be there lately).
Why? Because Fisher is all those things so they had to move him. For the good of the future locker room.
Sessions is now the Lakers’ starting point guard. He is going to play the bulk of the minutes at the point and the ones he doesn’t play should go to the Lakers’ second best point — Steve Blake.
This means Fisher would have sat. And sat. He would see sporadic minutes at best. And that would have been a politically awkward thing in the locker room where Kobe is Fisher’s biggest supporter. How do you leave a guy like Fisher out of the rotation? Not easily. No matter how professional Fisher was, it would have been awkward.
The Lakers also wanted a little depth along the front line and Hill can provide that.
The price for taking on Fisher was a first-round pick (the one that actually belonged to Dallas and came to the Lakers in the Lamar Odom trade). The Rockets are going to talk buyout with Fisher, according to reports.
Yes, Fisher has played elsewhere before, Golden State and Utah. Still, it will be odd to see him in another uniform.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.