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Monday, March 19, 2012
Names in the news and the TrueHoop Network

Where will Derek Fisher and Gilbert Arenas end up? What is Dwight Howard's future in Orlando?

Our writers weigh in on that more.

1. Fact or Fiction: The Heat or Bulls should sign Derek Fisher.

Beckley Mason, Fiction. The Bulls are all set with four point guards already on the roster. Besides, Derrick Rose will play 42 minutes in any close game in the playoffs. The Heat would value his shooting and experience, but experience can't make the rapid cross-court rotation required by their frenetic defensive scheme. I don't see a contender out there that would have a use for him, besides perhaps Orlando.

Matt Moore, Hardwood Paroxysm: Fact: The Heat should sign Fisher. They tried unsuccessfully to lure him in 2010 and understand the value of having a veteran like that. Plus, you never know when having a guy who knows the Lakers the way he does will come in handy … in June.

Darius Soriano, Forum Blue and Gold: Fiction. At this point in his career, Fisher's utility as a player has diminished too much to effectively help a new team. His leadership and clutch shot-making are still valuable, but those traits are best utilized in a familiar environment rather than a brand new one. Really, his best fit was with the team that just traded him.

David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: Fact. The risk is minimal, and the reward could be huge. I rarely buy into the "veteran star will teach the youngster" stories because it rarely happens. But both teams have young PGs who can learn a lot from a guy who will probably be an NBA head coach himself one day.

Jeremy Wagner, Roundball Mining Company: Fact, the Heat should sign Fisher. The Norris Cole bandwagon was fun early in the season, but the Heat could use a steady hand backing up Mario Chalmers and Fisher, for all his faults, has shown he can get the job done. Plus if LeBron wants to keep passing to teammates in end-of-game situations, Fisher is a pretty good option.

2. Fact or Fiction: The Grizzlies should sign Gilbert Arenas.

Mason: Fiction. Why, oh why would anyone sign Gilbert Arenas? We are now five years removed from the last time he was a good player and three years from the last time he was an adequate player. Arenas is a target only because of his brand, which I thought was tarnished beyond repair after the Orlando flop.

Moore: Fiction. The Grizzlies have had a ton of success signing high-risk locker room guys, but there has to be a threshold. And Arenas is different in that he's legitimately a goofball. At some point you're just playing with a loaded … oh, nevermind, awkward.

Soriano: Fiction. Fair or not, Arenas' reputation as a shot-happy malcontent makes him a bad fit with a Grizzlies team that has Zach Randolph back and will need to run a post-centric offense.

Thorpe: Fiction. I'd want to see him compete for a week in summer league first.

Wagner: Fiction. The Grizzlies are a very dangerous team and a big part of that is their ability to defend. They have fantastic defensive chemistry. Memphis is already going to have to adjust to adding Zach Randolph back into the rotation, trying to cram in a player like Arenas this late in a season with little practice time would be reckless and unnecessary for a team that already has a great chance to come out of the West.

3. Fact or Fiction: Dwight Howard will remain in Orlando through 2012-13.

Mason: Fact. Orlando will scrub its cap sheet following 2012-13 and make an honest effort to bring in a big name to pair with Howard. The Magic are in a much better position now than they were a week ago because they are both better prepared to rebuild if Howard leaves or build around him if he stays following the 2012-13 season.

Moore: I don't care anymore. The Magic shouldn't care anymore. The fans shouldn't care anymore. This has to stop. Someone has to stand up and change the channel on this thing. I respect myself too much to watch him change his mind another 11,000 times.

Soriano: Fact. Before the trade deadline Howard's best option was to become a free agent and sign with the team of his choosing. That fact will be true next season just as it was last week and I'd expect him to dissuade the Magic from trading him so he can keep his options open.

Thorpe: Fiction, with a caveat. If this team can get to the Eastern finals then I think he'll stay. It's a 40-60 proposition at best. I just don't think the Magic have enough assets and cap flexibility to make the right moves. The Rashard Lewis-Arenas deal is rapidly becoming the worst trade in NBA history and, ironically, might seal the deal for Dwight's ultimate departure.

Wagner: Fact. My initial reaction when Howard chose to opt in for next season was that Magic fans had just signed up for another 12 months of torture, and that will be the case until Howard signs an extension, or re-signs as a UFA. At the extreme risk of being na´ve I am going to believe Dwight is being honest with his loyalty comments and he will remain in Orlando.

4. Fact or Fiction: Minutes aside, Kenneth Faried is a top-3 rookie.

Mason: Fact. Faried's rebounding rate and field goal percentages are off the charts but I can't ignore his frequent fouling, which makes the minutes issue more than simply his coach's discretion. However everything else he does helps Denver win, so I'd tab him as the third best rookie behind Kyrie Irving (duh) and Kawhi Leonard, who has become a prototypical "D and 3" guy in San Antonio.

Moore: Fiction. It's close, but I think with MarShon Brooks and Kawhi Leonard in this class (in addition to Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio), Faried hasn't done enough yet to get there. Check back in a few weeks.

Soriano: Fact. Faried leads all rookies in PER and as he's played more, his production and efficiency have remained strong. Combine that with his athleticism, energy and enthusiasm on the court and the Nuggets have the steal of the draft.

Thorpe: Fact! I have a rule I follow which limits where I can rank a rookie based on the number of games he's played. Faried recently passed that threshold and can now be in my top five. He's headed there this week. The bigger question is, "Why did he fall so low in the draft?" Can you see him next to DeMarcus Cousins?

Wagner: That is a big-time fact for a big-time player. Faried has displayed an immense ability to impact the game thanks to his boundless energy and dogged determination. He may not be a "skill player" the way a defensive lineman is not a skill player, but the Manimal disrupts the opposing team like a possessed pass-rusher. I defy you to show me more than three other rookies who have had such a tremendous impact.

5. Fact or Fiction: The Lakers are a new team with Ramon Sessions.

Mason: Fiction. "New" is a stretch almost as big as the Lakers' massive front line, which is still the foundation of the team's identity. But they now have a fourth guy who can score 20 points and Sessions' self-starting offense makes them a significantly more dynamic, deep and dangerous team.

Moore: Fact, if they let themselves be. They have to embrace the impact Sessions can have. You know, the guys on the Lakers being so good at adapting to change and rolling with punches.

Soriano: Fiction. Sessions is a very good player whose quickness, feel for the game and style of play bring a new (and needed) dimension to the Lakers. But the Lakers' universe still orbits around their big three and Sessions' addition does little to change that.

Thorpe: Fact. It helps them a great deal on both sides of the ball. Quickness is perhaps the most valuable asset on a basketball court on a team with size, and Sessions is a huge upgrade there.

Wagner: Fact. Defenses have to respect Sessions coming off the pick-and-roll and I expect to see him earning Bynum and Gasol more easy looks than they are accustomed to. He can push the pace to get easy baskets in transition and his 3-point accuracy will add another dimension to the offense, as well.