Early Thursday morning former Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the rest of the 2011/12 NBA season, less than a week after the Lakers traded Fisher to the Houston Rockets. Fisher had spent thirteen of his sixteen seasons with the Lakers before being traded to the Rockets where he was due to earn $3.4 million. He then decided to buy out his contract from the Rockets in the hope of joining a contender for the playoffs. The long time point guard who had won five titles next to Kobe Bryant in two separate stints with the Lakers was no longer required after the Lakers recently signed new guard Ramon Sessions. Fisher has also played for Utah and Golden State between his two stops in LA.
“I think I was surprised by it, but since then I’ve very much realized that it’s not so much about what went wrong and why it happened but more so where I’m going next and the chapter of my life,”Fisher said, not wanting to speak more about his departure from LA. With Eric Maynor going down earlier in the year with a season-ending knee injury, Fisher can be expected to play the backup point guard, relieving some pressure from Russell Westbrook and also provide some veteran experience in the locker room for the young Thunder team. Fisher has averaged 5.9 points along with 3.3 assists per game this season in 43 starts. Scoring leader for the Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant gave his approval on Fisher’s arrival before he had even signed with the team, hoping the he would be a mentor for the young team struggling to play well late in the fourth quarter. Durant however was hesitant about looking forward and judging the impact Fisher will have on Thunder’s championship hopes.
“I’m going to just try to pick his brain as much as I can about the game of basketball but at the same time, of course if I want to get to that goal, I’ll have to experience it myself.”So far in the month of March, Thunder are 6-5, with three of those losses coming at home where they had previously won 14 straight. This was the second time Fisher had brought out his contract in hopes of going to a team that he wants. Back in 2007, Fisher gave up nearly $8 million owed by the Utah Jazz to come home to the LA Lakers, where he began in 1996.