Report: Lakers eliminate Derek Fisher from coaching search

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Phil Jackson might gets his man this time.

After waiting for Steve Kerr to coach the Knicks only to see the Warriors poach him, Jackson faces less competition for his backup candidate.

Derek Fisher – once believed to be a Kobe Bryant-approved choice for the Lakers – is out of the running in Los Angeles.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

The Lakers have decided they need a coach with previous NBA coaching experience, which means one thing for Derek Fisher: He isn’t a candidate.

I’ll admit, as a lover of chaos, I wanted to see Jackson wait all this time and then strike out with Fisher like he did with Kerr. Then what would the Knicks do? There seemed to be no plan B after Kerr, and now there might be no plan C after Fisher.

Fisher hasn’t announced his retirement from playing, so there’s still a chance he spurns Jackson for another contract with the Thunder or other team.

Or he could simply choose to do something other than playing or coaching the Knicks next year. Though he was confident in his ability to coach Kobe, Fisher might not rush to oversee J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton.

As for the Lakers, their decision eliminates pure college coaches – though the two they’ve been linked to have already essentially recused themselves from the search. North Carolina’s Roy Williams denied interest, and Kentucky’s John Calipari just signed a monster contract extension.

The Lakers have interviewed five veteran coaches, and though their search could still expand, predicting their next coach should probably start with this list:

NBA head-coaching experience is important, and candidates with it should receive credit for it. But I don’t understand why Rambis going 56-145 in Minnesota gets his foot in the door when so many other potentially worthy candidates are shut out by the line the Lakers are setting.

Of those five, Hollins is a quality coach, and Gentry would be fine. The other three are pretty underwhelming.

The Lakers seem to be narrowing their options – but that will at least help the team with the narrowest search of all.

Watch Kawhi Leonard chop boards ‘karate styyyle’ (video)

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.

He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.

But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.

Except we now know he apparently likes karate.

Leonard:

Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.

If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.

Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

Kevin Durant brings fan to tears with autographed shoes (video)

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Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.

Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.

Carmelo Anthony leaves without speaking to media, will probably get fined

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Lately, Carmelo Anthony has parsed whether the Thunder are frustrated or angry and said he’s going through the roughest stretch of his career.

It didn’t get any better last night.

Anthony scored 11 points on 12 shots with three turnovers, and Oklahoma City got outscored by 21 points with him on the floor in a home loss to the Hornets. The Thunder have now lost two of three, falling to the lowly Nets and Hornets and needing overtime to beat the freefalling Grizzlies.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Anthony today:

I’m sorry. My bad. I had a FaceTime session with my son, so I skipped out on you guys yesterday. I apologize. It’s true, though. That’s true. It’s true. He had a school night.

The NBA’s media-access rules state: “All players must be available to the media for a minimum of five to 10 minutes during the postgame media access period.” It’s been a while since someone got punished for violating the policy, but Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for not speaking to the media after Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.

I’m sympathetic to Anthony wanting to speak to his son, who’s still in New York. But the league tends not to take these personal concerns into consideration, which is probably for the best. There’s a rule. Anthony violated it. Assessing which personal calls should supersede the rule is a can of worms not worth opening. Besides, Anthony probably could have returned to the locker room for an interview after concluding the call.

Anthony earns a lot of money. If he wanted to risk a $25,000 fine to speak with his son, I have absolutely no problem with that. But that’s probably the choice he made.

In my experience, Anthony has been forthright with the media. He spent years as the face of the Knicks, dutifully answering for problems created by James Dolan and Phil Jackson. Because he was available nearly daily while his superiors avoided interviews, Anthony was the grilled by the New York media.

I bet he expected a reprieve in Oklahoma City. Instead, the spotlight has shined on him as a problem with the underwhelming Thunder.

It’s understandable he’d rather talk to his son than reporters. But it’s also understandable the NBA wants to promote its business through the media, and the league has power to enforce its rules.

Grizzlies fan absolutely owns kids halftime scrimmage (video)

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The Grizzlies lost for the 15th time in their last 16 games, a 25-point drubbing at home against the Heat, last night.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Memphis.

This young fan – while playing in the halftime scrimmage – stopped his dribble, stepped on the ball, whipped off his youth jersey to reveal a Marc Gasol jersey, flexed, re-started his dribbled then drove for a basket.

Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation:

The Grizzlies don’t deserve this hero.