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The Lakers Are Calling Derek Fisher's Bluff

Some details have emerged tonight about the bidding, uh, "war" for Derek Fisher. A story filed minutes ago by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times contains two key pieces of information. One is that the Miami Heat have indeed offered Fish a contract. It's for two years, with the second being a player option. The salary is "up to $2 million" per year, depending on what Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem will agree to. The Heat have apparently promised Fish the starting point-guard gig.

The second key update is that the Lakers are now offering Fish a deal worth $2.75 million annually. Turner doesn't know whether it's a one- or two-year offer, but in any event, it's a very slight increase from the $2.5 million contract the Lakers were reportedly offering last week. The Heat are requesting answers from Fish, Miller and Haslem by Tuesday.

What this story tells us is that the Lakers aren't buying Fisher's whole Miami act. They're willing to bet that he'll come back to the Lakers at a fairly modest salary, and they're willing to risk losing him if they're wrong. After a weekend in which Fish flew to Florida to chat with LeBron JamesPat Riley and Mickey Arison, the Lakers upped their offer by only $250,000. They're saying to him, in effect, "Here's a few extra bucks to help you save face, but if you really want to take less money to play for the Heat, be our guest."

I don't blame Fish for trying to extract maximum dollars from the Lakers, but he's in a losing battle here. The team has a backup plan in place in the form of Steve Blake, they're spending assloads of money on their core talent (including the best coach in the business), and they're not about to lavish another $4 million a year on a 36-year-old point guard, no matter how rich his history with the franchise. It's now Fish's decision whether to stay or go.

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