Author: John Krolik

Derek Fisher

Fisher close to signing with Thunder, Heat still in the mix


The ultra-reliable Marc Stein of has the report:

Derek Fisher is in advanced negotiations with the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Western Conference leaders after clearing waivers, according to sources close to the situation.

Fisher is scheduled to clear waivers Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. ET. One source with knowledge of the talks told that Fisher is “very close” to committing to sign with the Thunder once he becomes a free agent. reported Tuesday that the Thunder and Miami Heat had emerged as the two frontrunners to sign Fisher, who was officially released Monday night by the Houston Rockets after securing a buyout from Houston in the wake of last week’s trade that brought an end to Fisher’s second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Fisher would fill a need for the Thunder, who have been searching for a solution at the backup point guard spot ever since Eric Maynor went down for the season with a torn ACL injury — rookie point guard Reggie Jackson has struggled badly for the Thunder, and is currently averaging just 3.5 points per game on 33.8% shooting from the field and 22.4% shooting from downtown.

The Heat have less of a pressing need at the backup point guard spot, as rookie Norris Cole has played very well in stretches, but the Cleveland State product has struggled lately, and may be hitting the dreaded “rookie wall.”

Fisher, who has won five NBA championships as a member of the Lakers, will provide a good locker-room presence, be a good, physical defender, and stretch the floor for any team that signs him, even though his individual statistics have never been particularly good and he lacks anything resembling speed at this point in his career.

Fisher is rightly renowned for his clutch-shot making, but with Mario Chalmers (who nearly saved the Heat’s Finals by tying game 2 with a 3 on Miami’s final possession of that fateful game) and Russell Westbrook firmly embedded as the starting point guard for both the Heat and the Thunder, it seems unlikely that Fisher will be on the floor during crunch-time if he signs with either team. Still, the allure of a 5-time champion is hard to resist, and the front-runners in both the East and the West both seem to want Fisher on their roster very badly as they search for the final piece of their respective championship puzzles.

Wizards to bench Blatche until he gets in better shape

Blatche coloring book

From the Washington Post’s Michael Lee:

After watching Andray Blatche labor through the past nine games and struggle to contribute, Wizards Coach Randy Wittman announced on Tuesday that he would shut down the 6-foot-11 forward until he is in better condition. Blatche missed more than a month with a strained left calf but has averaged just 5.1 points on 37.7 percent shooting and 3.3 rebounds in about 16 minutes since he returned.

“We thought we could maybe try to play him into shape once he got back,” Wittman said. “After looking at it, it’s unfair for me to put him in that position. and I think what we’re going to do, we’re going to probably not play him for a while, get him on a program here, where he can really go after it from a conditioning standpoint to get himself back into shape. It’s not fair for me to do that to the kid.”

Blatche was able to get a massive contract after putting up big scoring and rebounding totals after taking over Antawn Jamison’s starting spot at the end of the 2009-10 season, but that contract has looked worse every day since it was signed. Even when Blatche is “in shape,” he plays horrible defense, has poor shot selection, doesn’t take care of the ball or pass it well, and doesn’t play with a lot of energy. As Lee notes in his column, Blatche still has 3 years and $23 million left on his contract after this season. The Wizards had better hope that this benching helps Blatche, because it’s almost impossible to imagine any other team taking Blatche off the Wizards’ hands any time soon.

Brad Miller will retire, focus on hunting shows

Brad Miller

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears has the report:

Wolves Brad Miller to Y!:”To anyone who wants to listen I’m retiring after this season.” 14yr vet to concentrate on hunting tv shows postNBA

Miller came into the league in 1998 after going undrafted, and the two-time All-Star managed to have an extremely successful NBA career despite a complete lack of athleticism thanks to his reliable shooting stroke and fantastic high-post passing. Miller underwent microfracture surgery in May of 2011 before joining the Timberwolves in the off-season, and only appeared in seven games for the Timberwolves this season.

Miller has already spent a good deal of time appearing on hunting shows, and will now apparently make that his full-time profession. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Clipper Darrell will continue to be Clipper Darrell

clipper darrell

Well, our relatively short local unpleasant dream is over. Darrell Bailey, a Clippers super-fan who has been in the news lately when the Clippers sought to ban him from calling himself “Clipper Darrell” when he made public appearances, will continue to use the name “Clipper Darrell.” From ESPN Los Angeles’ Arash Markazi:

[Bailey and the Clippers] came to an agreement before the Clippers returned home after their road trip and Bailey was back in his usual seat in Section 107 on March 11 when the Clippers played the Golden State Warriors.

The agreement was more of a clarification than anything else. The Clippers wanted to be notified of appearances Bailey was making under the “Clipper Darrell” name and also wanted Bailey to be careful of possible endorsement deals he was considering accepting as “Clipper Darrell.”

“We have a mutual understanding of what my role is now,” Bailey said. “Nothing has changed. I’m still doing what I’ve been doing, but I’m letting the Clippers know when I make certain appearances. All these appearances though are through season ticket holders that asked me to come to their kid’s games. People wanted to make it seem like I was making appearances in front of Ralph’s or something. It’s not like that.”

So that’s that. Clipper games and certain kid’s basketball games will continue to feature a man with an impossibly loud voice in a blue-and-red suit chanting “LET’S GO CLIP-ERS!” and “U-G-L-Y, YOU AIN’T GOT NO ALABI, YOU UGLY!” All seems right with the world again.

Gooden, Bynum named players of the week

Andrew Bynum


The Milwaukee Bucks’ Drew Gooden and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 12, through Sunday, March 18.

Gooden, Milwaukee’s second consecutive Player of the Week winner (Ersan Ilyasova), led the Bucks to a 3-0 week behind averages of 18.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists.

Bynum led the Lakers to a 3-1 week, which included wins over the Grizzlies and Timberwolves. Bynum led the West in rebounding (14.8 rpg) and placed second in scoring (27.5) while shooting .665 from the field (fourth in the Conference). Bynum collected a point-rebound double-double in all four of the Lakers’ games, including a 37-point, 16-rebound in a 116-111 win over Memphis on March 13.

While last week was simply a continuation of Andrew Bynum’s long-awaited breakout season, it was a complete outlier for Gooden, a 30-year old forward averaging 14.5 points and 6.8 rebounds on 44.3% shooting for the Bucks this season.