New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher and Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes were involved in a physical altercation Saturday night in Los Angeles during a party at the home of Barnes' ex-wife, sources confirmed to ESPN.com on Wednesday.
When Barnes arrived at the home, he got physical with Fisher, sources said. But Fisher did not show any outward physical injuries when he returned to practice on Tuesday. Fisher told Knicks officials he had enjoyed spending time with his children over the weekend, sources said.
Barnes and Fisher played together with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2010 to 2012 and were said by one former teammate to be "very close" at the time.
Barnes is in training camp with the Grizzlies, who were training for a bit in Santa Barbara. Barnes was elsewhere in L.A. when he was told that Fisher was at the home, a source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Fisher had flown to California after practice on Saturday to visit his children.
The Knicks had Sunday off; Fisher missed the practice on Monday because of travel problems, the team said.
The Knicks, Grizzlies and the NBA became aware of the incident and were gathering information, sources told ESPN.com. A league spokesman said it was premature to comment.
Fisher said before Wednesday night's preseason game in New York against Brazil's Paschoalotto Bauru that he was focused on the game. He declined to offer specifics on the incident.
The New York Post, which earlier reported the altercation, reported that Fisher and Barnes' ex-wife, Gloria Govan, a star on the show "Basketball Wives LA," are in a relationship. Fisher filed for divorce from his wife, Candace, in March.
ESPN.com’s #NBArank project is counting down the NBA’s top players for this upcoming season. Over 100 NBA experts from across ESPN (including analysts, writers, researchers and editors) participated in this season’s #NBArank project with the goal of ranking players in terms of both quantity and quality of each player’s contributions to his team’s ability to win games in the upcoming season.
The countdown continued on Wednesday with Nos. 100-91, with Kobe Bryant coming in at No. 93. Bryant was ranked No. 6 in the 2012-13 countdown, then dropped to No. 25 the following season and was No. 40 last year.
At No. 93, Bryant is still the highest-ranked player on the Los Angeles Lakers. Every other team in the NBA has at least one player ranked higher than Kobe, making him the lowest-ranked "best player" on any team.
Bryant is slated to make $25 million this season, more than any other player in the NBA, and his $54 million over the past two seasons is by far the most of any player. We take a look at why Kobe has fallen so far:
In the 41 games Bryant’s played over the last two seasons, he has averaged 21.1 points per game while shooting under 38 percent from the field. That’s the worst field goal percentage over any two-year stretch in the shot-clock era in which a player averaged at least 20 points per game.
There were 18 games last season in which Bryant took at least 20 shots. He did not make half of them in any of those 18 games.
So why has his shooting percentage dropped?
Bryant is not getting as many close looks as in the past. Last season, just 25 percent of his points came in the paint, the lowest mark of his career; entering last season 34 percent of his career points came in the paint.
He is also not getting as many open looks. Last season, Bryant took 15 shots per game in which a defender was within 4 feet -- the highest average of any player in the NBA.
All this adds up to Bryant ranking 175th in half-court points per play out of the 185 players with at least 500 plays in the half court last season.
ESPN’s real plus-minus measures a player’s impact on team performance per 100 possessions. In general, it passes the smell test. The top five from a year ago? Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. There is also an offensive and defensive component.
Bryant ranked 245th in RPM last season. His rating on the defensive end ranked among the 20 worst in the entire NBA.
Though he has been less efficient, the on-the-surface numbers are still there for Bryant. Last season, he was one of only five players to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. The others? LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Blake Griffin.
What to expect moving forward
The 2015-16 season will be Bryant’s 20th in the NBA; he will break a tie with John Stockton for the most seasons played for one team in NBA history. Bryant will also become the first guard in NBA history to play a 20th season.
Can he stay healthy? There’s not much to go on historically to project health. Only five other players -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Garnett, Moses Malone, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis -- stuck around long enough to play a 20th season. Only Abdul-Jabbar and Parish managed to play in 60 games that season.
This will be Bryant's age-37 season. Out of the 72 NBA seasons by guards age 37 or older, two averaged 20 points per game (both of Michael Jordan’s Wizards seasons), 18 averaged double figures in points per game and 23 played in at least 70 games.
The first in a series on how league insiders view the Lakers' rebuild.
Kobe Bryant runs into the noise, the deafening roars and the thumping music blasting throughout Staples Center.
"And at the other guard, 6-foot-6, in his 21st campaign from Lower Merion High School ..." arena announcer Lawrence Tanter bellows, but he's drowned out by a thunder of cheers.
An injury-free Bryant buries a contested jumper just after tip-off, and as he sprints and cuts, shaking 25-year-olds like he has for decades, it's as if he, at age 38, is not only beating Father Time but turning back the clock.
The game ages into the fourth quarter, the score tight, and, as usual, the ball finds Bryant's hands, just like old times, and he comes through, once again, sending the crowd into a frenzy. It's another game-winner, another highlight for the all-time reel.
Could it get any better?
This is the dream scenario for the final chapter of Kobe Bryant's career, the storybook ending for one of the greatest players of the NBA's glamour franchise. Bryant has only one season remaining on his contract -- his 20th with the Lakers, the most in NBA history for any player with a single franchise. But Bryant hasn't committed to making 2015-16 his farewell tour, leaving the door open for another season thereafter.
Such a turn of events would be a godsend for some Lakers fans, many of whom worship at the altar of Bryant. Numerous people around the NBA, however, say Bryant deciding to play beyond this upcoming season would be the Lakers' worst nightmare.
"They've got to get rid of Kobe," a scout said.
"You let him walk," an agent said.
"Get rid of Kobe by whatever means necessary," an executive said.
Of the 24 league insiders -- team executives, agents, scouts, etc. -- ESPN spoke with for this story, only one said the Lakers should definitely bring Kobe back if he decides to extend his career past his current contract.
Thirteen said the Lakers must move on from Bryant regardless. The rest said Bryant's health this season will dictate how he and the Lakers should approach his future.
If Bryant remains healthy? Then, the insiders said, the Lakers should dream up offers, light on cash and playing time and heavy on mentoring, designed to push Kobe out without looking like it.
However, there was considerable skepticism among those interviewed that the Lakers would cut ties with Bryant after next season or in the years to come for various reasons: financial, fear of backlash from fans, or simply that he holds too much power over the organization.
"They've created a monster there," one executive said, "and it's hard to get out of it until he actually goes away."
"I tried to be as direct as possible and show him in front of the other players how his selfish mistakes were hurting the team. During one film session, I said, 'Now I know why guys don't like playing with you. You've got to play together.' I also indicated to him that if he didn't want to share the ball with his teammates, I would gladly work out a trade for him." -- Phil Jackson in his 2013 book, "Eleven Rings."
Bryant has long carried the reputation as a poor teammate, one bestowed upon him by ex-teammates and coaches, namely Jackson.
But now, with Bryant in the twilight of his career, how he works alongside the young players on the roster might be the most important factor for the team's present and future.
Having largely struck out in free agency, the Lakers are heavily invested in youth. D'Angelo Russell was the No. 2 overall pick this year. Julius Randle
The 2014 No. 7 overall draft pick who broke his leg in his NBA debut a year ago pushed the ball up the floor and handled it like a speedy guard, despite his 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame.
The former Kentucky standout pounded his way to the rim using brute strength and his quick feet.
And he threw down several dunks, one of which came on the fast break and made Jim Buss, the Lakers' part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations, leap from his courtside seat, throw his balled fists into the air and cheer.
Randle finished with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in 26 minutes in the Lakers' 117-114 preseason overtime loss to the Utah Jazz at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Stan Sheriff Center.
Afterward, praise poured in from Randle's teammates, especially Kobe Bryant.
"He was excellent," Bryant said. "He played extremely hard. He played extremely well. He put the ball on the floor, he made plays, attacked the rim, offensive glass, moved his feet defensively. He was very sharp."
Randle looked especially sharp after grabbing the ball on the defensive end and then pushing it up the court on several occasions.
"It's not normal to see a guy that size move his feet so well and have such quick hands and be able to push the ball on the break ..." Bryant said. "It's pretty phenomenal."
Any comparisons come to mind?
"He's Lamar Odom in a Zach Randolph body," Bryant said.
Lakers center Roy Hibbert took it one step further.
"Julius is an animal," Hibbert said. "He's the future of this team. He's the future face of the NBA. That boy can play. The things that he does at his size, dribbling the ball up the court, dunking. The sky is the limit. I've never seen anybody like him."
"I don't know if it's a rebirth or what, but he looked really good and just very fluid in his movements," Scott said of Bryant after the Lakers' 117-114 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Stan Sheriff Center.
Bryant swooshed his first two shots, a midrange jumper and then a 3-pointer from the right wing, and he finished with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in nearly 21 minutes.
"I feel fine," Bryant said. "The timing is not perfect yet, but it'll get there pretty quickly."
Bryant scored five points on 1-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes during the Lakers' preseason loss to Utah on Sunday, his first game in nine months since suffering a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that ended his 2014-15 season after 35 games.
Bryant said that he's past the recovery phase of his injury.
"It's just getting the timing down to feel like myself," he said.
Scott believes that Bryant looked close to his old self Tuesday.
"I thought he looked great," Scott said. "He was very lively, getting up and down the floor defensively. I thought he was fantastic."
Bryant was much more efficient in the second game, finishing with three assists to go along with two rebounds. He added a steal and shot 2-of-5 from 3-point range.
"I talked to him earlier [Tuesday] morning, [and] he said he felt great," Scott said. "Then during the game, I just told him, 'You look great.' You look like you're lively, light on his feet, running well, moving extremely well."
But Scott said the Lakers will stick to the game plan of giving Bryant limited minutes throughout the preseason and basing each decision of playing time on how Bryant feels.
Hibbert approached Booker during a stop in play at the 7:14 mark of the third quarter, and the players got in each other's faces before Booker took an open-handed swing at Hibbert.
But before the two could further engage each other, Hibbert was held back by his teammates. Shortly thereafter, Booker was assessed two technical fouls and ejected from the Jazz's 117-114 overtime win at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Stan Sheriff Center. Hibbert remained in the game.
"That's what normally happens, but I'm happy to have teammates that will have my back," Hibbert said.
And of Booker?
"I ain't worried about him," Hibbert said "I'm not going to speak on that."
Hibbert, who joined the Lakers in an offseason trade with the Indiana Pacers, finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes.
"I just wanted to be aggressive," Hibbert said. "It's preseason so you don't really take too much about the wins or the losses, but it's just how you play and just play with aggression and play together like you did. I like what I saw, even though we lost. There was a lot of good things in there."
Withey had a dunk off a pass from Elijah Millsap with 28 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 105.
Lou Williams scored 20 points to lead the Lakers (0-2), who lost rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell to a bruised glute muscle in the first quarter.
In his second game back from rotator cuff surgery, Kobe Bryant scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in just under 21 minutes of action. Bryant played 12 minutes and had five points in Sunday's exhibition opener.
HONOLULU -- Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard D'Angelo Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, left Tuesday's 117-114 preseason loss against the Utah Jazz with a bruised glute that he suffered after crashing to the court in the first quarter.
Russell, who is 6-foot-5, went down after absorbing the brunt of a drive to the hoop from 7-foot-1 Jazz center Rudy Gobert with 7:42 left in the first quarter at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Stan Sheriff Center.
Russell remained on the court for several minutes while teammates and Lakers trainers gathered around him. He was taken to the locker room soon after.
A Lakers spokesman said that had it been a regular-season game, Russell could have returned, but the team elected to sit him out for precautionary reasons.
"I knew it wasn't that serious when I fell," Russell said. "I was talking to [Lakers trainer Gary Vitti] while I was on the ground. I just couldn't really move. After it kind of loosened up a little bit, I was able to move."
Russell hasn't been ruled out for Wednesday's practice, but the team will monitor how he feels before making a decision.
"He took a pretty good hard fall. I was just hoping there wasn't anything broken," coach Byron Scott said. "The way he came down, I could tell he was going to be sore. I knew it was going to be his hip. Now, it's one of those things: It just depends on how fast the kid can heal."
The Lakers are already on edge when it comes to injuries, specifically regarding their top draft picks. Their 2014 No. 7 overall pick, Julius Randle
HONOLULU -- Injuries have been a nagging issue for the Los Angeles Lakers lately. The team led the league in each of the past two seasons in games missed due to injury. That trend has continued through training camp before the 2015-16 season.
Guards Anthony Brown (right shoulder) and Jabari Brown (right hand) also joined the Lakers' list of walking wounded after suffering injuries in Monday's practice at Manoa's Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii.
An X-ray on Jabari Brown was negative and he has a contusion of his right hand. An MRI on Anthony Brown was also negative and he has a shoulder strain. Both players are listed as questionable.
Beyond that, Scott said 37-year-old Kobe Bryant "felt good" after playing his first game in nearly nine months Sunday, in which Bryant scored five points on 1-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes, all in the first quarter. Scott said he and Bryant would discuss how many minutes Bryant might play in Tuesday's game against the Utah Jazz here.
Scott said Bryant could play just 12 minutes again Tuesday or possibly more, but Scott said that decision would likely be made Tuesday morning.
Scott said he wouldn't mind if that starting lineup emerged as one he could use throughout the regular season.
"I would love for this group to take this to the next level," Scott said. "The only way they can do that is by playing together a little bit more in game situations and practice."
Scott said Nance practiced Monday and is expected to play Tuesday. He also said veteran forward Metta World Peace is expected to play after sitting out Sunday's game.
Huertas isn't scheduled to play Tuesday, as the team announced he will be absent because he'll be receiving his immigration documents in Vancouver.
They hit the front of the rim.
Typically, a poor shooting night with so many players clanking so many shots off the front iron is a common sign of team-wide fatigue, which seemed understandable as Lakers coach Byron Scott has focused on running his players hard throughout training camp here.
But Scott didn't think fatigue played much of a role in their shooting.
"I think a lot of it is just, we just missed a lot of wide-open shots," Scott told reporters after practice at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Stan Sheriff Center on Monday.
"I don't know if it has anything to do with tired legs. I think we just missed open shots. You can always say it's tired legs. That to me is an excuse."
Scott doesn't seem too sympathetic to the idea of resting his players much, either.
"I don't necessarily care about tired legs in preseason," Scott said. "I think everything that we've done thus far will pay off at the end of the day. You've got some guys that might have tired legs and [are] a little worn out, but all the running as far as getting into that physical condition that we need to get into, I think in December and January, it will pay off.
"So I'm not necessarily worried about guys having tired legs in preseason. They'll just have to kind of fight through that fatigue part of it. And I think mentally it gets them a little stronger anyway."
Scott used a similar message after his Lakers were drubbed by the Jazz on Sunday, saying, "From what I saw, we've got to do some more running as far as getting back in transition because I thought they looked like they were in better shape than we were."
The Lakers have had several players dinged up lately, including guard D'Angelo Russell (bone bruise in his right foot), forward Larry Nance Jr. (back), guard Nick Young (back), guard Marcelo Huertas (hamstring), guard Anthony Brown (right shoulder) and guard Jabari Brown (right hand).
That streak of injuries continues a recent trend, as the Lakers have led the NBA in games missed due to injury in each of the past two seasons.