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D-Fish in the cards for the Lakers?
Posted By Greg Quintero On Oct 18 2012 @ 9:47 pm In Los Angeles Lakers | No Comments
The Lakers spent the offseason making substantial upgrades to their roster, including solidifying an anemic bench from a season ago. However, one reserve spot possibly remaining thin is at point guard. Thin is a relative term in this situation, the Lakers have two roster spots dedicated to back up point guard, though neither is ideal for the Lakers situation. Steve Blake returns to the Lakers despite a strong sentiment from fans and analyst’s deeming him a subpar reserve. Blake has come under fire for shoddy defense and poor decision making since arriving in Los Angeles. Joining Blake is newcomer Chris Duhon, acquired from the Orlando Magic in the Dwight Howard deal. Duhon was more of a “throw in” in the deal, and doesn’t appear to have the skill set to be a viable reserve to Nash.
With Nash now at 38 years of age, and likely to only play approximately 30 minutes a game, can the Lakers afford a Blake/Duhon Combo for a third of the game? If the Lakers feel they need an upgrade before the season begins they will need to scour what’s left of the free agent market for an alternative. Would the Lakers consider bringing an old friend back into the fold? Yes that old friend. Yes, again. Derek Fisher is still unsigned midway through the preseason, and is an interesting option if the Lakers look to fill out the reserve point guard position. It was originally believed that Fisher couldn’t resign with the Lakers until March 1 due to a clause in the new CBA, but that was debunked this week opening the door for a possible return.
With the possibility of Fisher returning to Los Angeles open, the next question would be if both sides would be amicable to a reunion. If the Lakers are able to move either Blake or Duhon, both of which is they are shopping, Fisher would have to at least be on the team’s radar. Kobe Bryant would likely campaign hard for the return of his former back court mate. The two entered the league at the same time, and Fisher often was seen as the more approachable, and “human” leader of the team, a contrast to Bryant’s bristly, intense style. The duo is familiar and battle tested with each other as well. Fisher hit many crucial shots in his two separate runs with the Lakers (think .04 against the Spurs in 2004) en route to five NBA championships with the Lakers.
It’s unknown from Fisher’s side if the history with the Lakers would be enough to lure him back to L.A. Despite that said history, the Lakers sent him packing at the 2011 trade deadline to the Houston Rockets. As a key member of the players union, Fisher understands perhaps better than any that the NBA is a business first. However, Fisher was obviously shaken by the deal, not speaking publicly after the deal and taking a short self-imposed exile. Following a buy-out from the Rockets, Fisher ended up with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that would go onto eliminate the Lakers in the second round of the post season. Now a free agent again, if approached by the Lakers for a reserve role, could Fisher forget the sting of being jettisoned by his former team? Possibly not, but Fisher could also decide returning to a place where he’s comfortable, and has a chance at another championship is too tough to pass on.
If Fisher returned to the Lakers, his production could be a point of contention again. Before being moved to the Rockets, Fisher was struggling through the worst season of his career. Sports talk radio and internet message boards were afire with criticism of Fisher, calling for his departure after every missed shot. After Fisher was dealt many of those same media outlets were critical of the move, questioning how the team could move the heart of their team. That has become the quandary of a 38 year old Fisher; do the intangibles he brings to the team, out weight older legs, and a lack of production? Before a potential deal were to be struck it’s only fair to both sides that this question be answered.
Since his career began in 1996 Derek Fisher has spent the majority of his seasons as the Los Angeles Lakers true leader. Yes, Kobe Bryant is the face of the franchise and undeniable leader, but Fisher has steered the ship to five championships with heart and a level head. He has taken the adoration and aggression of Lakers fans in stride, never losing his trademark grin. Whether a deal between the sides comes to pass remains to be seen, but it would likely be popular among even the most critical of Lakers fans. If Fisher feels he still fits in Los Angeles, and can contribute to another title run the Lakers should give him a look. Despite stints in Golden State, Utah and Oklahoma City, Derek Fisher is a Los Angeles Laker, and deserves the opportunity to go out as one on top.
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