It's December, not February.
Visions of the All-Star game are the last thing dancing around Phil Jackson's head.
"Why are you bringing things like that up that aren't important?" he said Friday to a reporter.
The Lakers coach had been asked about the possibility of three Lakers playing in the All-Star game -- Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant.
After some pressing, Jackson said they "probably should be" part of the Western Conference team.
"Andrew's playing like an All-Star center right now and has those kind of stats," he said. "We know how effective Pau's been. There's a possibility [of all three]. A slim one, but a possibility."
The Lakers haven't had more than two players on the All-Star team since 1998, when Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel were all selected.
Bryant, an 11-time All-Star, was "a natural" to make the team, Jackson said. Bynum has never played in the game. Gasol made it last season for the first time.
Talking to Artest
Ron Artest made news earlier this week by revealing that he drank cognac during games earlier in his career. Then he heard from Jackson.
"I did talk to him about his indiscretion with discussing with you guys his use of Hennessy," Jackson said. "It's certainly not a behavior that we've seen exhibited here. I haven't checked his locker, but we really think it's just kind of Ron baring his soul, so to speak, and talking about some indiscretions in his past."
Artest was not suspended by the NBA for his comments, which also included some critical remarks toward referee Joey Crawford. There's a chance he'll get fined, but only a small possibility.
Another thing caught Jackson's attention about the revelation.
"I think that he's just growing up and this is maybe a delayed process," he said. "He was talking about some of the things that kept him from being as good a performer as he could have been in the past."
It won't affect the Lakers, Jackson said. After all, it happened when Artest was with the Chicago Bulls. He was traded by them in February 2002.
"I think these guys are used to handling things like that, so I don't think it's any problem," Jackson said.
Derek Fisher has seen more open shots lately. He can thank Gasol.
Fisher scored more than 10 points only once in 11 games while Gasol was sidelined. In seven games with Gasol back in the lineup, Fisher has done it four times.
Gasol's presence doesn't guarantee scoring success for Fisher, but the open looks will be there for him.
"We have a little more balance and a little more ability to feed off passing opportunities," Jackson said recently. "Pau's a good passer from that position. I think all those things correlate with Fish having more opportunities."
Fisher had 11 points on four-for-10 shooting Friday against the Miami Heat, including a three-pointer in the final seconds..