Derek Fisher was unceremoniously traded from the Lakers to the Rockets last season, before ultimately signing with the Thunder in mid-March. He played meaningful minutes while in OKC, and averaged over 22 minutes per game in the team’s Finals loss at the hands of the Miami Heat.
Fisher’s services were not retained by the Thunder, however, and he has been looking for work ever since the season began. Fisher had maintained that he would wait for an offer from a contender before signing, but with a month gone by and no offers on the table, he’s apparently chosen playing over not playing as a way to spend his immediate future.
The Dallas Mavericks will sign Fisher on Thursday, according to the team’s head coach Rick Carlisle, via multiple reports. Carlisle broke the news to reporters after the Mavericks’ 23-point loss at the hands of the Bulls, one that came after Darren Collison was placed on the inactive list — possibly due to a finger injury, and possibly due to falling out of favor with Carlisle due to his sub-par performance this season.
Fisher can provide a stabilizing force to bring the ball up and initiate the offense, which is something the Mavs could certainly use at this stage of the team’s development. He can also provide semi-consistent long-range shooting, but what he can’t provide is legitimate on-ball defense, which is another area the team desperately needs to see improve.
There’s the whole veteran leadership factor, which of course is a nice intangible to add to any team, and is obviously a plus. But just how much Fisher will be able to physically help in Dallas with his on-court production remains to be seen.
Entering 2017 free agency, rumors swirled Kyle Lowry would leave the Raptors. He ultimately re-signed with Toronto, but maybe that was only due to the timing of Gordon Hayward‘s decision to leave the Jazz for the Celtics.
Andy Larsen and Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune:
according to multiple Tribune sources, the Jazz spoke extensively to Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry’s representatives about bringing the All-Star point guard to Utah. After those discussions, the Jazz felt confident about their ability to land Lowry, but chose to pull out of any potential deal because signing Lowry would have required cap space earmarked for the Hayward
Lowry would have been huge for the Jazz, who instead traded for Ricky Rubio to start at point guard. Utah still won 48 games and a playoff series last season, but the team would have been even better off with Lowry.
Perhaps, Lowry wouldn’t have signed with the Jazz. Just because they felt confident means only so much. They might have misread his actual thoughts. At minimum, Lowry wasn’t willing to wait on Utah.
Lowry agreed to re-sign with Toronto on July 2. Hayward, after a twisting saga, announced his choice of Boston on July 4.
If Lowry were truly willing to commit to the Jazz, they erred by not accepting his pledge. Maybe that was a reasonable strategy, but it was still an error. Waiting on Hayward proved to be a mistake.
In Utah, many will blame Hayward for stringing along the Jazz. But he was a free agent with a right to decide on his own timeline. I believe he had legitimate desire to return to the Jazz. He just had greater desire to join the Celtics.
If the Jazz were completely on top of their game, they would have had a better read on Hayward’s decision and locked in Lowry rather than spending time recruiting Hayward. Again, maybe that would have been unreasonably difficult to know without hindsight. But that would have been the optimal way to proceed.
Warriors forward Draymond Green knows the perceived significance of his argument with teammate Kevin Durant.
“I’ve read a lot about how, is this the end of the run? Or is it over? Or did I ruin it? Or did I force Kevin to leave?” Green said.
But don’t expect Green to bend amid those high stakes.
“I’m not going to change who I am,” Green said.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic:
Green is correct: His emotional, stubborn, feisty style has led to more good than bad both for himself and Golden State. Reigning that in could have adverse effects.
But there’s still room for personal growth. Green can handle some situations, including this one, better without losing his edge. Every level of the organization agreed.
Dwane Casey reportedly holds a grudge toward Raptors president Masai Ujiri for firing him.
Casey got revenge last night, coaching the Pistons to a win at Toronto. Casey called two quality plays in the final seconds, the latter producing Reggie Bullock‘s game-winner.
Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:
A Toronto reporter asked Blake Griffin if it gives Pistons players a degree of confidence in their coach when he gives them those tools to win games.
“We know that. This isn’t like we just discovered this for the first time today,” he said. “We’ve put in plays like that all the time in practice. He demands execution and we executed. Maybe to Toronto fans – or certainly their GM, maybe – it was a surprise. But not to us.”
The win had to be gratifying for Casey. Having his star player take up his greater cause must even more satisfying.
NBA scoring is exploding. Defenses are getting less leeway for physicality. Offenses are more efficient than ever. Pace is at its highest mark in decades.
Except for the Jazz last night.
Utah scored just 68 points in a 50-point loss to the Mavericks. And even that undersells the Jazz’s offensive woes. They played reasonably fast, getting 101 possessions. Their offensive rating – 67.3 – shows just how inept they truly were.
In all, Utah shot 42% on 2-pointers, 17% on 3-pointers and 63% on free throws and committed 22 turnovers.
The Jazz set several milestones for offensive futility:
- Fewest points in a game (68) in nearly two years (68 by Hawks vs. Jazz on Nov. 25, 2016)
- Lowest Basketball-Reference estimated offensive rating in a game (68.8) in more than three years (68.2 by Grizzlies vs. Warriors on Nov. 2, 2015)
- Fewest points in a second half (22) in nearly five years (19 by Rockets vs. Thunder on Jan. 16, 2014)
Comparing across eras can be difficult, but here’s one measure: The Jazz scored 68 points in a season teams are averaging 110.4 points per game.
That output relative to average – -42.4 – is one of the lowest of all-time: