Top 10 Takes On Mavs' Signing Of Derek Fisher

The Mavs have quietly been shopping for a 'bus driver' at PG since the departure of Delonte West, and the finger injury sustained by Darren Collison has turned 'quiet' into 'done': Dallas is signing five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher ... and has The Top 10 Takes on the move ... Does he start? What's the downside? Is there a story behind the story? Can DFW find love with another Laker?

TAKE 1: ...

The Dallas Mavericks are acquiring Derek Fisher and his steady hand, full as it is with NBA championship rings. But don't fall into the trap of thinking this is a "savior play'' fallen short.

It is nothing of the kind.

The expectations for Fisher will not be lofty. Darren Collison has a finger problem (albeit amid odd circumstances.) DoJo isn't a natural PG. Nor, obviously, are Roddy B, OJ or Cunningham.

Dallas has considered bringing in a "bus driver'' since Delonte's divorce.

A bus driver is what they've got.

TAKE 2: ...

There is another transaction coming, as Dallas already has 15 guaranteed guys. Don't hold your breath for Fisher to come here in a way that triggers a noteworthy trade; the new guys (free agents) cannot be traded until after Dec 15 and besides, Dallas' players in general are not exactly at their highest value.

We'll keep you posted while noting that Dallas has been trying to shop DoJo and handed B-Wright a DNP on Wednesday.

Oh, and of course Collison didn't play, either.

Based on Darren's post-Chicago game comments, he's looking forward to being here and to working with Fish.

"I think his leadership will help," Collison said. "He's been around the NBA for a very, very long time. He's going to help me grow into the player I want to be."


It's not being said they have already signed Fisher. So we may have a day or two to see what happens.

I agree with Fish and MDug; in all likelihood it won't be anything complex. They'll either waive a player or give one away via trade (where a team wants them for nothing) in order to free up a slot.

But to the idea that a trade can't happen? The vast majority of the Mavs players ARE available to be traded

The following cannot be traded: (1) Brand can't be traded any time this season, (2) Murphy can't be traded until around Feb 1, and (3) Kaman and Mayo can't be traded until Dec 15. So if they wanted to open up a roster slot by getting rid of one of those four, it could only be via waiver. But every other player on the roster is permitted to be traded, if they had a taker.

TAKE 3: ...

Is this a Kidd issue? That's not a fair criticism of the organization. Dallas offered Kidd a deal many thought was too generous ... and he turned it down to go to the Knicks. Second-guessing the Mavs now tastes like sour grapes -- especially because many of the second-guessers were lauding the move when replacement Collison was so pivotal in Dallas' 4-1 start.

The media can blow whichever way the wind takes it. Mavs management, however, must recognize a need and fill it.

There is another Kidd-related issue worth discussing.

The obvious comparison to Derek Fisher that so many will leap to immediately will be Jason Kidd. In a sense, the reasoning for this is completely obvious, and not a stretch. They are both tough, strong-willed veterans that have slowed a step and have a wealth of intangibles to offer ... and have the ability to hit an open spot-up jumper, though Fisher suffered mightily in this area last season with the Lakers and Thunder (hitting only 32.1 percent of his 3-pointers on the season).

When it comes to one of Carlisle's key words, disposition, they may share a great deal. But Fish as Kidd Redux?

Give us a little time. We're working on shooting that one full of holes.

TAKE 4 ...

So the move is made because Collison is a disappointment? Nope; the move is made because Collison is hurt. The fact that he's a disappointment is a separate issue.

DC is at 12.9 points and 6.3 assists this season but that is highly deceiving. He's been a mess in the clutch as a defender and distributor as the Mavs have lost eight of the last 11. If he hadn't hurt his finger, he'd likely still be this team's No. 1 PG. ... even though he came off the bench in Tuesday's loss to the Sixers. (It can be presumed, maybe, that a healthy Collison would've started in the loss at Chicago.)

Collison's been rough. Fisher's now needed.

Pending a transaction that has DC's name in it ... Two separate issues.

TAKE 5: ...

Image-wise, Fisher takes a hit because of his role as the current president of the NBA Players Association. He was a prominent figure in last season's labor dispute. He became a nightly fixture on your news channels.

Let's forgive him that, OK?

TAKE 6: ...

Hey, Fish is a former Laker. What could go wrong?!


With the Odious Odom still in our minds, we can't help but take the Lakers dig. But yeah, A.C. Green was cool. Nick Van Exel was critical. Devean George was ... well, George was a taller Fisher, kinda.

Just good enough to be around.

TAKE 7 ...

The greatest downside to this picking is the possibility that Fisher, 38, cannot play anymore.

Stabilizing force? Certainly, whether he gets minutes or not. (But he will get minutes, right? Because how does a coach bite the bullet and play, say, Jared Cunningham when he's got the sure steady thing in Derek Fisher?) Rick Carlisle says Derek can help as a defender but our eyes say that is not true.

Let's re-phrase that: Fisher can instantly grasp Dallas' defensive playbook. Schematically, there won't be a problem. He did just that in OKC last year. But guarding waterbugs -- which DC was supposed to be doing?

Derek Fisher will hit big shots. No argument there. He will be a teacher. Can't hurt. But again, his greatest and maybe only consistent on-court value will be in his ability to execute the simplest things ... like entry passes ... simple things that Collison, by the way, has been struggling at.

TAKE 8 ...

Our biggest Fisher-related concern for the moment, based on the assumption that this year's Mavs are not going to challenge Miami/OKC/Lakers/etc for the title, is that he'll serve as a "clogging agent'' for the development of the kids.

Not on purpose, of course. But even if he can help Mavs -- or rather, when he does help the Mavs -- he will in a sense be hurting them. He'll be just good enough to always be on the floor ahead of Roddy, ahead of DoJo, ahead of Cunningham.

Coach will try to win the game. As he should. But he will try to win the game by playing the surer, safer hand.

And then a year goes by and Jared Cunningham isn't a PG, isn't an anything. It's another stretched out Beaubois-like experiment all over again, while Derek Fisher plays 25 unspectacular minutes per game.

TAKE 9: ...

Darren Collison, regardless of what you feel for him in this moment, has the ability to be a much better player right now than Derek Fisher. Better player now, given the circumstances. Better player for the future.

Not playing better. Better player.

TAKE 10: ...

It's mean-spirited, but here goes: The Mavs tried for Deron Williams at PG. Then they settled for Darren Collison at PG. Now, maybe as soon as Saturday against the visiting Pistons, they settle for 38-year-old Derek Fisher as the starting PG.

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