Fisher declines to revisit Lakers trade before return

March 29, 2012

This time, Lakers fans probably won't be as appreciative if Derek Fisher hits a remarkable shot with 0.4 seconds left.

Fisher returns to Staples Center on Thursday to play the Lakers with his new team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When Fisher was dealt on the day of the trade deadline, his Lakers teammates were stunned.

So was he.

Fisher negotiated a contract buyout with Houston and quickly joined the Thunder as a free agent after being waived by the Rockets last week.

He politely declined to answer specific questions about the trade when asked about it Tuesday.

"Obviously, life changes quickly and there's a lot going on with the family, with my kids and those things," Fisher told The Oklahoman. "But on the court and around this team -- the community in Oklahoma City -- it's everything and more than I imagined in terms of how good it would be to be around these guys. From the first player to the 15th player, every guy has been great. All the coaches, everybody has just been wonderful to work with, so I'm looking forward to continuing this process, getting to know these guys better."

Oklahoma City (38-12) has won all four of its games since acquiring Fisher, though he hasn't played well while getting acclimated to his new team. He is averaging 3.8 points and shooting only 22.7%, playing primarily at backup shooting guard.
He was two for 11 in Oklahoma City's double-overtime victory against Minnesota last week and later said the game wouldn't have gone to overtime if he had played better in regulation.

"He hasn't shot the ball as well as he's going to," Thunder Coach Scott Brooks told The Oklahoman. "There are a lot of factors involved in that. He's still trying to learn our system where he will get looks. He has gotten some good looks and will continue to get good looks."

Fisher will be used as a scout against his former team before Thursday's game. The Lakers (31-19) are third in the Western Conference, seven games behind the Thunder.
"He knows Kobe [Bryant]'s game better than anybody," Brooks said. "We definitely will talk to him and we have already."

The normally stoic Bryant acknowledged Fisher's return to Staples Center would create a highly unusual backdrop. Bryant and Fisher played together on the Lakers for almost 13 seasons.

"It’s going to be strange, him going down to the visitors' locker room," Bryant said. "But I talk to him pretty much every single day, though, still. So in terms of our personal relationship, there really hasn't been any separation in that sense. But seeing him coming into Staples Center in a different uniform is going to be extremely, extremely weird for us all."

The Lakers sent Fisher to Houston two weeks ago for a first-round draft pick and reserve forward Jordan Hill, who has barely played for the Lakers. The draft pick was the one they received last December from Dallas in the Lamar Odom trade.

Fisher reportedly agreed to let the Rockets off the hook for his salary next season ($3.4 million) if they agreed to waive him so he could sign with a contending team.
"We're playing well and it's very apparent that these guys are hungry. They're playing with a passion and enjoy playing the game together," he said. "I just want to add anything I can add to what I thought was a special situation already before I got here."

--Mike Bresnahan