Thursday, July 1, 2010
Jackson keeps timetable
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- The deadline came and went.
There were no face-to-face midnight meetings planned between the Lakers and potential free-agent additions, unlike many of their peers in the league chasing big-name stars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, but there has been plenty of activity involving the two-time defending champions.
It is still unknown if Phil Jackson is coming back to coach, or if Derek Fisher is going to be the starting point guard again next season, but the shape of the Lakers' roster that will compete for a three-peat has started to take form.
And the biggest Lakers-related news of the day didn't even involve the roster, but rather the coaching staff, as Brian Shaw, who has been an assistant with the team for five seasons, told the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday afternoon that he would like to withdraw his name from consideration for the coaching job there.
Jerome Stanley, Shaw's agent, told ESPNLosAngeles.com via text message that he cited "timing issues" when notifying Cleveland brass of his client's decision.
The Cavaliers will hire Byron Scott as coach, a source close to the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, and a news conference is planned for Friday.
Shaw's withdrawal opens the door to speculation that he may want to remain available should Jackson retire. Jackson informed Lakers spokesman John Black via e-mail late Tuesday that he intended to stick to his plan to inform the team of his decision by Friday.
As for the players, two backup free-agent guards are closer to leaving. The Lakers reached out to Fisher's agent, Rob Pelinka, shortly after the free-agent embargo was lifted, according to the Los Angeles Times (Fisher was on a trip to China).
The first hurdle that needs to be cleared is not the length of a contract for the 35-year-old veteran -- who has 14 years of service in the league -- but the amount he'll be paid in what's expected to be a one-year offer.
"I think what's more important is the whole deal," Fisher told ESPNLosAngeles this past weekend. "It wouldn't really just be about one year versus three years or trying to get three just to have some false sense of security. It's really just about the deal itself. If it's one year, it's really just about how that one year looks. Which team it is. If Phil's there or not there. All these different scenarios that come into play.
I'm not set on the terms. I have a feel for what, at least number wise where we should be, but even that changes if it's more or less years."
Fisher is seeking a salary close to the $5 million he earned for the 2009-10 season. The Lakers are looking to offer somewhere close to half that -- in the $2.5 million range.
As far as the backups go, Jordan Farmar was not extended a qualifying offer by the 6 p.m. PT end-of-business-day deadline, thus granting the 23-year-old unrestricted free agent status, meaning that Farmar is free to accept any deal that comes his way from another team, and the Lakers cannot keep him by simply matching whatever that offer sheet might be.
Also, Shannon Brown officially opted out of the second year of his two-year contract that would pay him approximately $2.15 million next season, according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein.
The Lakers' remaining free agents -- Josh Powell, D.J. Mbenga and Adam Morrison -- all are considered unlikely to return to the team. However, Powell's agent, Jamie Knox, said he would contact the Lakers on Wednesday evening to try to gauge interest in his client, who was considered a leader in the locker room despite limited playing time last season.
"The plan is to call the Lakers and try to get a feeling where they stand with what they have going on," Knox said. "I know that there's going to be an opening somewhere. Our best thing to do is just sit back and make the phone calls and see what's going on."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.