Rumor Is Knicked in the Bud

A gossip columnist in the New York Post swore in Friday's editions that Cablevision boss Jim Dolan was preparing to throw wads of money at Phil Jackson in the hopes of luring the Laker coach to the New York Knicks.

Quoting a source "reasonably close" to Dolan, the columnist claimed Jackson would be offered a mammoth, multi-year contract, stock options and general manager and head coaching duties for the Knicks.

When he arrived at the arena Friday night, Jackson chuckled at the report and said he would not be interested.

When the final horn sounded and his teammates went for each other in the early stages of NBA title celebration, Derek Fisher burst away, off the floor, through a tunnel, in pursuit of Allen Iverson.

It might have been out of habit, 10 days of thinking of nothing but Iverson, and of defending nothing but Iverson.

From the seven-month rehabilitation of his broken foot to six three-pointers in the Lakers' 108-96 Game 5 victory, Fisher said it would not have ended until he reached Iverson.

"I had great admiration for what he did," Fisher said. "Winning sometimes takes away from the fact there were two teams out there."

That's what he told Iverson. "You deserve it," Iverson told Fisher.

Fisher averaged 9.8 points in the Finals, 13.4 points in the playoffs. His career scoring average before this season, before surgery and grueling rehabilitation, was 5.4 points.

He remade himself in recovery, becoming a shooter, the perimeter threat and playmaking guard for which General Manager Mitch Kupchak thought he might have to shop this summer.

Instead, they'll look for a second or third shooter, content that Fisher can push a team to a championship. In 576 playoff minutes, Fisher had 48 assists and 12 turnovers.

"I wasn't going to give up," Fisher said.

Tex Winter, 79, said early Saturday morning that he had not decided if he would return next season, which would be his 55th in a row as a basketball coach.

"I'm going to have to wait until I get home and meet with some people," Winter said. "I really don't know yet."

The pregame question posed to Robert Horry: If the Larry O'Brien Trophy were like the Stanley Cup, passed from player to player in the off-season, what would you do with it?

"I wouldn't want it," Horry said. "I wouldn't want to be responsible for it. Plus, I wouldn't know what the last person had done with it. The Stanley Cup, I can't believe people drink out of that thing. And they kiss it. That's nasty."

The Lakers viewed "O, Brother, Where Art Thou," this week. As usual, Jackson spliced in educational basketball clips, just to keep the film sessions lively.

In part, it was supposed to represent the Laker journey to the brink of their championship.

"The odyssey, the little things that go on, the trials," Jackson said. "I also want these guys to have some decent music in their ears, and give them an opportunity to have to wither under some bluegrass and some country."

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