Mavs Turn To Fisher As Steadying Hand

DALLAS – Derek Fisher certainly didn’t want the new collective bargaining agreement, the one he served as a key architect as the players union president, to effectively, and ironically, push him out the door for good.

As the new CBA last summer forced franchises to be more mindful of obeying the salary cap, many aging veterans such as Fisher, 38, were left waiting for the phone call that would extend their careers.

“I think it’s a combination of a little bit of all those things,” Fisher said Friday. “It’s perception of what I can and can’t do, it’s the collective bargaining agreement and salary cap and luxury tax. It’s where the team feels that where they are in terms of what they need, and then ultimately where I was, in terms of what I felt like was the best situation to be in.”

The call officially came this week from a Dallas Mavericks team needing a rescue at point guard.

Fisher certainly seems to enjoy being back in the NBA limelight — engaging the media for more than 20 minutes — and in a role that certainly appears to be that as the Mavs’ new starting point guard. For Dallas fans, it’s almost unthinkable.

A tag-team dream of Deron Williams and Kidd burst in July and the Mavs moved quickly to trade for youngster Darren Collison. His inconsistent play at both ends led to a benching Tuesday night and appears to have cost him his starting job as the Mavs look to snap a three-game skid Saturday night at home against the Detroit Pistons.

“He’s probably going to be our starting point guard,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Fisher. “And we got a great situation with him and Collison because we got two really good players there and I see the real possibility that those guys could play together some, too.”

Fisher completed his first workout with his new team on Friday — proof being a painful elbow to the nose by a player he wouldn’t name. As unlikely as this marriage might be for the Mavs, same goes for Fisher, the beloved five-time champion with the Lakers the club traded to Houston last March. The Rockets waived him and the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder signed the veteran, utilizing him as a key reserve all the way to the Finals.

Employed again, Fisher has the Finals back on his mind, one of the reasons he said he chose to wear No. 6 in Dallas. The No. 2 he wore all those year with the Lakers, Fisher was told by an equipment manager, was off-limits.

That’s Kidd’s former number during his second run in Dallas, which included the 2011 title, and the one owner Mark Cuban has said he’s in no hurry to hang in the rafters after Kidd backtracked on a deal to stay in Dallas and instead fled to New York.

“I play to win, so part of it is wanting another championship ring,” Fisher said. “That’s not something that, obviously today, we’ve put ourselves in position to do. But I just wanted a reminder as to not just singularly why I’m here, but that’s a big reason why I’m still playing, is to win.”

Ring No. 6 for Fisher won’t come easily in Dallas. Fisher is the 11th new face to come in since the start of training camp with Delonte West, Eddy Curry and Troy Murphy all having come and gone. Dirk Nowitzki remains sidelined until perhaps mid-December and the team is 7-9 as it begins a brutal stretch of schedule.

While playing without Nowitzki, terrible rebounding and porous defense have all been culprits of poor play, Dallas has not received the stability and reliability needed at the point guard position when under critical moments of duress.

“To see somebody come in and be more poised at it and learn how to really control the tempo of the game,” veteran Shawn Marion said of bringing in Fisher. “You’ve got to know when you come down and you get two turnovers in a row, you’ve got to come down and get your ass into a play. There’s no [messing] around trying to get a third or fourth turnover. You’ve got to know that. That’s a thing a veteran point guard knows and recognizes.”

Marion was referencing the fatal fourth quarter Tuesday in Philadelphia. Dallas had a two-point lead when Collison committed consecutive turnovers. Four more in a row followed and the 76ers went on a 12-0 run.

That’s Fisher’s job now — steady the ship while showing Collison how.

“Part of being in this business, you’re going to have those stretches where things don’t go so well,” Fisher said. “Those guys that are able to weather those storms and those setbacks and those adversities, and come back and continue to grind and push and be the player they can be, that’s what makes you who you are. That’s what creates champions.”

39 Comments

  1. Trevor says:

    Kupchak should get back Fisher and waived duhon or morris.

  2. Mino says:

    I love Kaman and I love Dirk, but we cant have 2 scoring big men in our lineup like this. We need a bigman who’s of a Tyson Chandler mold, 7ft plus, can run, can hit free throws, and can defend brilliantly. Within the first season with Chandler, we won a championship. To me, it seems like that’s all we are missing (but we need some heart)

  3. ThunderBoyGames says:

    fisher with the mav`s? nah that doesnt work if he can be the sixth man of the mavs he would be good on the defensive side but hes a better fit for the lakers because him and nash at the pick and roll they can beat the spurs 8/10 times if the lakers Baron Davis and Mike Bibby they might improve a little heres how the lakers roster should look if they want to be 72-10

    PG Nash
    SG Bryant
    SF James
    PF Gasol
    C Howard as starters

    PG Kemba Walker
    SG Jamal Crawford
    SF Jamison
    PF Patterson (Patrick)
    C Bynum
    as bench

    PG Mike Bibby
    SG Morris
    SF Kenyon Martin

    and etc

    • Hunter says:

      If you want that team to be 72-10 you have to have a coach that teach’s DEFENSE. D’Antoni teaches OFFENSE, no defense at all.

  4. Tom says:

    Fisher is terrible at this stage in his career and it’s a huge insult to Collison to bring this aging scrub who piggy-backed his way to rings into the team as a starter. Collison isn’t the reason they’re struggling and they’re not going to be competitive this year so they’d be better off giving him as many minutes as possible. If they go with Fisher they’ll have the worst starting PG in the NBA. The problem is simply a lack of talent on the roster outside of Dirk. Grizz bench rider OJ Mayo is their best option, followed by old man Vinsanity…. Good luck fashioning a contender out of that.

    • artifex says:

      Well, besides that they also have some “interesting pieces” and some “good hope”. Unfortunately, pieces and hope don’t build a contending team but a TEAM, a UNIT. Something, why the Celtics made the conf finals last year after said for the 3rd time in a row, they’re too old. But they have defense and they have a chmistry. I think, Collison isn’t too bad (not elite either) Crowder hat potential, James can develop into some, Wright;s not bad either, but it’s still pieces that haven’t turned together yet (who knows if they will – or half be traded before they do…).
      I’d say their second unit – no seemingly Collison, Carter, Crowder, Brand (upon Dirks return) and Wright is better than many others, but the first unit needs an upgrade towards defensive improvement and longer term stability.

  5. Axel says:

    When Dirk fell to an injury at the start of the season the writing was on the wall. Then the MAVS have launched a good start but none of the good performances came from so called Star players. All of them are good role players. The only Star payer in this team is and has always been since the departure of Nash and Finley Dirk and in exceptions the Jet. Someone here wrote that they wont be contending if they dont get a real Star Def C. We saw how it worked in the past with Chandler as the only real great def C the MAVS had. But I will say this: All the experts and most of the public has written of the MAVS in there championship season. The difference however is Dirk is now really aging and even with his return to the team I will be happy for them to make the POs.

  6. l-train says:

    Dear Dallas fans,

    first you have to make it to the playoffs, before think about your team will represent the West in the finals lol.

  7. wow. seriously? tell me more. hahahaha. fisher is already old

  8. Kaman and Fisher says:

    Remember when Kaman wanted to beat up Fisher? and now their team mates. Thats funny.

  9. lgw says:

    Dallas need a center who can grab rebounds and are defensive efficiently.in addition,Mayo should attack the paint much more.

  10. Kobe24 says:

    Congrats Fisher thanks for all that you’ve done for the lakers

  11. Jayden says:

    Hopefully he becomes the steadier we need!
    Dallas are getting killed in the rebounding department due to both coaching and player’s styles/mentalities. IMO, IF Dallas is to trade to anyone (I don’t think it’s entirely necessary), it should be to acquire Splitter. A trade with Wright as the focal point and possibly one of the many guards SA have stockpiled.

  12. MrNBA says:

    The Mavs have an infamous reputation of screwing up. Like losing 4 in a row after leading 2-0 in the finals while having homecourt advantage, winning 67 games then losing to an 8-seed in the 1st round, and losing a playoff game after being up by 24 pts. 2011 should’ve been their 3rd title. And they defend it next year by not re-signing the would-be Defensive Player of the Year because they thought they could convince a couple of pampered, ‘ringless superstars’ to play for them.

    • artifex says:

      Unfortunately true!
      I’m a big fan of Dirk and thus rooting for the Mavs but it’s quite a pain again and again. If anyone would’ve been sent away but Chandler was that defensive piece they always missed (and miss again!). Even convinced Terry and Kidd wouldn’t have left then, so the most important would’ve stayed.
      Additionally, disappointed of Collison, I think he can do better, didn’t expect much from Roddy, 2bh. But Mayo is a good add and with Kidd probably retirinig in ca 2 years, I was totally sad but hoped future would just start little earlier. Now it seems far away… Kaman’s a nice guy and offensive upgrade but this team lack so much defensively…
      But for fans there’s always hope… keep going Mavs. Stop only trading, start BUILDING (taht needs foundation I don’t see yet – except foor Mayo and Crowder)

  13. noyb says:

    DFish WAS a great player, but there is a reason why he was sitting on the sidelines this year; WAS being the operative word. I’m sure he’ll help DAL, but they’re so low there’s nowhere to go but up. I wish Derek all the best, hope he has much success.

    • Hunter says:

      True.. He is old.. However when you have a last second shot at a timeout in a playoff game, you don’t just have Dirk or Vince or OJ.. You have Fisher. Another clutch weapon.

  14. Hunter says:

    I know RIGHT NOW this MAVS team is just subpar. But I think alot of you guys are overlooking their potential this year with the signing of Fisher and they are one or two steps away from a trade and signing from being a title contending team.

    I will tell you this though, they have to trade a few players away for a real def. bigman. if they don’t this is going to be futile for Dirk’s career

  15. joheike says:

    good decision for mavs to sign fisher, go fisher prove to lakers that you are still young as 20 years, and pray so much that Lakers will not get any championship any more…. sorry Lakers am no longer a fan of yours..

  16. Alan says:

    The MAVS is the #1 team in the USA NO LIE

  17. Extremegirth360 says:

    Power shift, the addition of experienced and savvy vet Fisher makes the Mav’s an instant contender for the title for years to come.

    • RJ says:

      Haha. It will help Collison and Beaubois, though. And it adds another guy to the rotation at the point to mix and match depending on match-ups, situations, and who’s playing well.

  18. Drake says:

    Sounds good to me.

  19. Zac says:

    Dallas is being so disrespectful to its players. They pick up players no other team wanted and wants – C curry, PF murphy, PG fisher – and put them in starting positions. If they were only coming from the bench, maybe it was ok. But this is saying: “Hey, you are playing so bad, i can pick up anybody from the street and he is better than you!”

    So we have problems at C, PF and PG, which is ok, but if i was playing for Dallas and they pick up the trash from the streets and keep throwing it in front of my feet, i would not want to play for Dallas anymore.

    I’d rather see Dallas lose the next 20 games,

    BtW, i’m still blaming Dirk for not getting his knee repaired after last season. What was his medical staff doing? I’m a doctor, and i learned if there’s a swelling there is ALWAYS something wrong.

    • dattebayo says:

      Every player has minor swelling in his knees, that’s why every player ices his knees and ankles as soon as practice and games are over. Minor swelling is always an issue and that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong, it’s natural because the knees and ankles are under heavy duress when you play basketball.
      Dirk has just gotten older and the healing process will slow down with age, the same way the condition of knees and ankles deteriorates with age. Dirk hasn’t missed many games because of injuries in his entire career and now you wanna blame him because he has his first major injury that required surgery? What kind of doctor are You Sir? A Dentist?

      • Zac says:

        Healing process is slows down with age? Why? Because of an increasing amount of cartilage debris, which Dirk has gotten surgically removed now.
        That could have easily been done in the offseason. Using an MRI scan to check the knees of a Player who earns 20.000.000 US-$ costs like maybe 1000$ and takes only a few minutes, nothing compared to last season, when he was dealing with swollen knees for two months last season.
        and btw he could have visited his dentist, too, because they learn that, too.

  20. Hunter says:

    Chris Kamen
    Dirk Nowitzki
    Shawn Marion
    OJ Mayo
    Derek Fisher

    Marcin Gortat
    Elton Brand
    Kenyon Martin
    Dahntay Jones
    Vince Carter
    Jae Crowder
    Darren Collison

    If those trades and signings worked don’t tell me that roster couldn’t represent the West in the Finals and challenge Miami

    • grm says:

      This team is horrible… the Lakers would blow out this team in seven nights out of eight…

      • LAKERS says:

        Lakers shouldve signed D-Fisher for backup point guard and get rid of Chris Duhon! Lakers make a lot of bad decisions this year accept for Dwight howard move. They couldve got Jamal Crawford for cheaper and better than Nash! Mavs will blow out Lakers in 9 games out of 10days..

    • dattebayo says:

      OK, this team could not represent the West. Dallas will keep struggling until Dirk is back and the West is a tough conference so they will be challenged to even make the playoffs. If they manage that, they will be either the 7th or 8th seed and they will have to go against the Spurs, Grizzlies or Thunder without home court advantage. The way those teams have developed over the last two years, I am not even sure that 2011 championship team could have gone trough 2 of these 3 teams without home court to reach the Finals.
      I wished Dallas would do better, but Cuban could have hardly done worse in these last 2 seasons. He let Chandler, Barea and Terry walk for nothing, lost Kidd, brought in a bunch of veterans that struggled with their former teams and their 2 point guards of the future turned out to be so bad, that they have to sign old man Fisher to lead the team. SMH

      • artifex says:

        I’m specifically curious when I see what they pay some players now, after they didn’t give Chandler a contract to let him stay. Get rid of Haywood earlier and not spending thism uch now on Brand and Kaman (though I like Kaman, he’s not a definsive guy and that’s what the Mavs need!). If Stevenson, Barea and others don’t want to stay for low money, OK. I’m convinced, with Chandler in the middle, Kidd and Terry would never have walked away. And I’d take Chandler over DWill any time.
        I think great PG and great defensive bigman are key to potential success but at the moment there are more potential PGs than there are great big men (I count over 10 to arguably 4 on all-star level). So if you have one of these 4 you don’t let him go (ok, I’d vote to not let him go, though I’m just an ordinary fan….)

    • RJ says:

      Yeah, that’s a pretty old, slow team. They couldn’t do it. And that trade would not work. Go ask the Suns for yourself.

      • Hunter says:

        RJ I agree that the phoenix trade probably won’t work but the roster I listed would be deadly if they gelled and the playoffs started today. There are several key players who are very young and energetic. Just sayin.

  21. Hunter says:

    A week ago I was playing out in my head, who would be the missing final pieces for another run at the title this year. First what would be ideal is if they could trade Brandon Wright, Roddy, DoJo, and maybe Sarge(including cash and a few picks) in exchange for Marcin Gortat(to back up Kamen).
    Then, if that worked they should sign Kenyon Martin and sign Derek Fisher

    We got Fisher! I guess thats one, now they need to make a trade for a backup def. bigman.
    GO MAVS!

    • RJ says:

      That trade would never happen. And besides Gortat probably wouldn’t be the solution, but at least he’d be a defensive upgrade over Kaman. Might as well throw Kaman in that trade, too. Beaubois alone might be worth the trade, but legit centers are hard to come by. And Beaubois a might, due to his lack of consistency to this point in his career and injury prone-ness. Backup defensive big man? Sean Williams. Along with Kenyon Martin. Chris Anderson? Dominic Mcguire? Trade for Chuck Hayes?

      Or just leave your roster as is, because this team is never making the finals, with or without Nowitzki, as is, or with a trade. The Mavs need a better point, and a better defensive presence inside. And not just better, but more physical (e.g. Samuel Dalembert, Deandre Jordan, Roy Hibbert, Emeka Okafor, Ekpe Udoh, Derrick Favors, Greg Oden if he has any chance of really playing), or if not more physical, at least taller/longer than any of the guys you or I have mentioned. (e.g. Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert again, Javale Mcgee, Meyers Leonard).

      But really, most of these wouldn’t be realistic for this year anyway. So, just take your time bringing Nowitzki back, let your young guys learn, and make a good late lottery pick and some good pick-ups next summer.