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Derek Fisher cites Kobe Bryant and city of Los Angeles as reasons he re-signed with the Lakers

Nearly every day during the free agency process, Derek Fisher talked with Kobe Bryant on the phone to update him on his latest line of thinking. Though Fisher had never deviated from his stance, shared in his exit interview, that he'd want to remain a Laker if possible but would explore other options and compare those to how he's measured with his current team, he wanted Bryant within his inner circle so he'd be fully aware with what's going on. It's a common bond the two have shared since both entering the league in 1996, winning all five of their NBA titles together, becoming the team's co-leaders the past two seasons and sharing the same agent in Rob Pelinka.

"I just felt it was important for him to understand my thoughts as the process unfolded," Fisher said Friday outside HAX in Hawthorne, where all week he has run his basketball camp for about 200 players between ages 7 and 15, and 11 days since he agreed to terms on a three-year contract believed to be worth about $10.5 million, including a player option in the third year. "If I did choose to go somewhere else, if I wanted somebody to understand it fully, I wanted him to understand it."

One of those reasons involved Bryant, whom Fisher recalled didn't try to persuade him one away or another, though his statement made it clear Bryant hoped he'd remain with the defending champions. "We have a bond that I think just didn't want to break."

Another reason entailed the fact the Lakers are primed for a three-peat. "I think we can lead our team to another championship this season," Fisher said. "and that was a big motivating factor."

And the last factor involved the city of Los Angeles itself, a place where Fisher currently lives, has held his basketball camp for two consecutive years and a reason why he left Utah in 2007 -- so his then 10-month year-old daughter, Tatum, could have quality care to treat a form of eye cancer.

"I spent my entire adult life here and it feels like home," Fisher said. "It was a lot of outside just the Lakers that really just factored into my decision."

What appeared conspicuously absent in a nearly 14-minute interview with reporters Friday was any mention that he re-signed with the Lakers because of the organization itself. Fisher's professionalism masked all that. He didn't put the team on blast for having to take a cut from the $5.048 million he made last season. He shot down a reporter's assessments that he was frustrated with how everything transpired before adding, "I fully understand that this is a business. They have a job to do in terms of negotiations contracts and trying to re-sign guys. I fully respect it." And he made it clear he hoped his considering other options made it apparent that "I'm not handicapping myself to just staying in one place." His options had included reported offers from Miami, Cleveland, Chicago, Minnesota and New Jersey, though he indicated in his statement there were other possibilities the media didn't report. Yet, I couldn't help but read between the lines and believe that to some degree Fisher feels hurt after this whole process.

Though I've been a strong advocate of what he brings to the team and that he should've gotten an offer he was seeking from the Lakers, I understand the Lakers want to cut costs and find some way to keep their team's luxury taxes as low as possible without compromising their ability to build championship rosters. Even with the  Lakers' off-season additions of Steve Blake (four years, $16 million), Matt Barnes (two years, as much as $1.77 next season and a player option for $2 million in the 2011-2012 season and Theo Ratliff (one year, $1.35 million) coming at a modest price, the only trimming the Lakers have really made this off-season points to Fisher's contract and Jordan Farmar's departure to the New Jersey Nets. As much as I've liked the Lakers' off-season moves and understand the business market suggested Fisher wasn't worth as much as he had hoped he'd be, I wish the Lakers would've thrown Fisher more of a bone.

This likely won't lead to any drastic consequences with the Lakers, knowing they must run a legitimate business operation and with Fisher being the consummate professional. But the relationship surely contrasts Fisher's nostalgic sentiments about Bryant and his roots in the city. He's built a solid foundation with the Lakers, has earned universal respect in the locker room and has constructed championship credibility. But instead of embracing the fact there are few other than Fisher who can bring that presence to the Lakers, the organization acted with the knowledge that those skill sets aren't as easily transferable to other teams because it takes time and trust to solidify those qualities. And it appeared obvious that the Lakers measured those variables against Fisher simply because it could.

"There's no exact science to a lot of things that take place," Fisher said of the negotiation process. "I guess I wasn't surprised in terms of the timing of it. I just think it probably caused a little bit more delay and stress than all the people wanted to experience, but I still think it worked out for the best. I think it's a decision that I can appreciate, that I can live with. I'm excited about these next three years."

And he's already in season form. Fisher began working out nine days ago to get ready. When he was asked whether the Lakers improved during the off-season, he pointed out that he never likes losing teammates before immediately embracing the new arrivals. And when he was told Vegas oddsmakers had named Miami as the favorite to win the title, he sent two different messages to his team. One served as a rallying cry: "Vegas? They don't have a team. How can they say who's to beat?" The other served as a warning: "If we thought this past year was difficult, wait until we get to this year."

Yes, Fisher will still bring the same dependable qualities the Lakers know and love. But when he proves instrumental toward the team's success next season, the organization should be aware that  this was made possible not because of them, but because of his relationship with Bryant, his attachment to the city and the lure of another championship still awaiting.

"Every decision I make for the most part is a life decision," said Fisher, who added that belief influenced his thinking in playing for Golden State in 2004 in hopes he could lead a team. "I never really considered myself to just be a basketball player. Even had I chosen to go elsewhere would've been a life decision."

Thankfully for the Lakers, Fisher's life decision involved them.  

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 
Comments () | Archives (41)

The comments to this entry are closed.

@JUSTA... Yes, you are one funny woman. In fact, you were even funny when I thought you were a man.
As I have always said, I’ve appreciated having you have my back through so many blog battles. Just can’t believe your hubby is NOT a Lakers fan. Have you considering therapy for him? More Percocets? LOL.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
@LAKERPEACE... Thanks for the link about Luke’s problems. Considering Bill’s physical difficulties, all we can do is pray that Luke makes the right decision for him. If he is out the year, insurance will pay his salary and we would be able to get a $3M disabled player exception. Don’t think Mitch would spend it since it would still cost Jerry $6M with luxury tax but it does explain why we are looking to bring back Shannon and how we will likely pay for it. Good luck, Luke. Get out the suits and clipboards.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
@NEM... Thanks for the props and the for balancing my occasional hyperbole with your quiet but remarkable intelligence. This is going to be a great season for Lakerholics but it is going to be a veryyyyyyyy looooooooonnnnnngggg Aug & Sep.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

"Thankfully for the Lakers, Fisher's life decision involved them."


This is true.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


GO LAKERS!!!

If we didn't need another reason to hate LeCreep...


http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ai6zqTaCsOsKMlNVqMkqkKq8vLYF?slug=aw-paulfuture072310


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


GO LAKERS!!!

Love, love, LOVE Fish. So glad we got him back. Another reason to like Kobe, that's for sure.

This year will be hard. But everyone is motivated and I can't wait to spank the Heat in a smack down that will be heard 'round the world. But I think we can three-peat, and just as I said when we were down 13 in the third of game 7, I will never, ever quit on this team. But I expect GREAT things.

Lakers, baby. All day, every day.

BACK TO BACK WORLD CHAMPIONS!
LOVE MY LAKERS!!!!!!!!1

Wow. I sure said "but" a lot in that last post. Grrrrrr I hate bad grammar!

One thing Lakers fans need to remember is that Derek Fisher is the President of the NBA Players Association and will be heavily involved in negotiations for the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the league and the players. That is why it was necessary for him to stand tough during his negotiations with Mitch. In addition to sticking up for himself and why he is so valuable, he needed to show his constituency that, like he said on Jimmy Kimmel, that his testicles were as big as he thought they were because the players are counting on him to represent them well in negotiations that experts expect to be very tough and contentious.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

If we didn't need another reason to hate LeCreep...


http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ai6zqTaCsOsKMlNVqMkqkKq8vLYF?slug=aw-paulfuture072310

Le Crab. What a loser. A Lahoo-zaher.


[Repost]

I thought Trevor Ariza was the poor man’s Trevor Ariza.

We get to say ‘elephant ^&^%$?’ Oooh, live chats are going to be so much funner next year.

I don’t know, if Barnes has some crappy games next season I might get to finally understand some of the player haters around here. I don’t like him. I hope he can play hard and not screw up, but if somebody punches him in practice, my jaw is not hitting the floor.
*UPDATE- or, hits him with a folding chair. Man, I hated that UCLA team. Then we kicked their ass all over Mac Court. Great times.

michael h - I agree. I thought Shannon would most likely be gone, but upon reflection (and more reading), I think Barnes (and the Ebanks signing) are about filling the SF spot. I’m not happy to see Luke be injured, but if Luke is injured, I’m not unhappy to see us get another SF, and then keep Shannon.
*UPDATE- Rick, well said.

All the Single Ladies (Beyonce) -- In L.A. Lakerland, Phil Jackson's back for the victory lap that could pump up his championship jewelry collection to an even dozen, Kobe's still Kobe, Pau remains the most trusted and dependable sidekick since Tonto and crazy ol' Ron Artest is probably lying on a psychiatrist's couch still wearing his uniform from Game 7. Yeah, they're ready. Put a ring on it.
Can’t urgue with that.

THE LOVE THINKS THAT BARNES’ SPELLING IS PROBABLY QUITE UP TO UCLA’S STANDARDS

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE

GO LAKERS!

[new post] [everybody get excited!]

So if the Lakers go from winning a lot of games by 2 or 3 that they led by 20 to winning a lot of game by 10-12, do we suddenly think they increased their ‘sense of urgency, (mandatory ‘ ‘s) or is it just maybe because they have a bench now?

Hey, that last linked article on Luke was by BK. Good for him to get the byline.


@JUSTA... Yes, you are one funny woman. In fact, you were even funny when I thought you were a man.

*Is also a girl.*

I've been watching basketball for a really long time. You can't believe all the men who think girls can't understand sports. And if you're cute it's even worse. Even if I can completely and utterly kill it with facts, plays, players, etc... I have still experienced the sad reality of men-who-think-they-know-more.

*Steps down off soap box.*

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!

longtime-

yeah, you get stereotyped all over the place. The beauty of the LA Times blog is that you can cast off stereotypes and be respected for your own opinion.

As long as you don't mention that you are actually a woman, or in my case, a super evolved form of meercat developed in a laboratory. Then you mostly get guys hitting on your or yacking about pinching. (i kid)

One served as a rallying cry: "Vegas? They don't have a team. How can they say who's to beat?" The other served as a warning: "If we thought this past year was difficult, wait until we get to this year."


WOW HIS SO SMART! ahaha tears r coming down my eyes!!! :'(

your= you

d'oh.

@ longtimelakerlover - ahaha i just posted the same article in the other tread lmao but yeah LeBUffon JIMMY... and you know what we call a JIMMY in california right?


ill give you a hint, the word starts with the letter C

yeah, you get stereotyped all over the place. The beauty of the LA Times blog is that you can cast off stereotypes and be respected for your own opinion.
Phred

Thanks Phred. As long as I can just talk basketball, shred a few trolls, and love on my team, I'm happy.

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!

@LTLL...Hey, good to know we have another girl with high BBIQ. I wonder how many of the "guys" are really "girls?" LOL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

I'm ecstatic! this has got to be one of the best offseason in Lakerland in a long time. Imagine the champs managed to get even better, unlike past Lakers championship teams which usually were content to sit back and make do with what they got.

I can't believe that not 100% of Laker fans are happy and there are still a few nitpickers out there. IMO, given the financial strap they are in the Lakers really, really did the BEST job possible to improve the team.

I hope everybody realizes that now the Lakers truly have a COMPLETE team. From 1-10 meaning 5 starters and 5 primary backups they are TEN bonafide NBA players:

PG: Fish/Blake
SG: Bryant/Vujacic
SF: Artest/Barnes
PF: Gasol/Odom
C: Bynum/Ratliff

With maybe only the exception of Sasha the other 4 primary backups should pass Phil's stringent "personality" test and play solid minutes to give the starters decent rest.

Don't know what's the whining about youth development is all about. The Lakers can sign the two solid draft picks, Ebank and Caracter and develop them while the #1-#10 do the heavy lifting.

I also feel awfully good knowing that the Lakers will NEVER again be so desperate in game situation that they will have to use Luke again! I always cringed whenever Luke came in. I appreciate Luke's attitude and ethic but sorry he just doesn't cut it on a championship team.

Last but not least as for Shanon Brown I too love him and his past contributions as well as his specialty exploit but won't be sad and miss him if he does not come back. After all that he has done I'd like to give Dr. Buss or rather his wallet a break. He really deserves it!

OKAY GUYS N DOLZ iM OUT FOR TODAY THTS ABT 8 HRS OF BLOGGING FOR ME TODAY! im signing out!!!

TILL NEXT TIME....

ADIOS.........

what do we play for!!??? RINGSS!!!!??

LAKERS TODAY! LAKERS TMRW!! ! ! ! ! LAKERS FOREVERRRR!!!!!!!

GO LAKERSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

Yeah Jon,


They really are a bunch of creeps who could not care less about the relationship a guy like Chris Paul has with his city. Here's the part I agree with:


"In a Twitter pronouncement on Thursday, King James declared, “Best of luck to my brother [Chris Paul] … Do what’s best for You and your family.”


James was referencing Paul’s half-baked trade request that’s come through Worldwide Wes. Do what’s best for your family? Here’s an idea: What Paul ought to do is run away from James, Wesley, Carter and not stop moving until he’s returned to New Orleans and reaffirmed the obligations he’s made there. No, this isn’t a championship team, but a franchise player reveals himself in good times and bad.


What’s best for Paul’s family is best for everyone’s family in the NBA. It needs James to restrict the polluting onto others of his own warped value system. James plays for the Miami Heat, but somehow he wants control of transactions elsewhere, too. He wants the building of these so-called super teams to protect his own legacy, to make it look like he isn’t the only superstar searching for the easy way to championships."


Creeps, jsut ask anyone in new Orleans or Cleveland. I hope we crush those guys.


Wes

Whatever his reasons, I'm just glad Derek decided to stay. Now let's get ready for banner #17!

he didn't do me any favors - not that he cares - but i will say this: when he cried in front of the camera telling the world that he just wants to contribute and win for his team, well, i'd be lying if i said i didn't cry with him.

Actually I thought the Lakers did throw Fish a bone, in the form of a 3rd year. Fish originally wanted $10 mill over 2 years. He signed for $10.5 over 3. I mean Fish will be 40 years old when this contract expires. Who else is going to pay a 40 year old 5th scoring option guard $3 mill for a season? And chances are Fish will be inactive that entire last year, working the clipboard and being available if a pg goes down w/ an injury.

@longtimelakerlover-

And granted there are a lot of men who think girls are completely ignorant when it comes to sports and will never give them there fair share of respect when a game is on. And there's also a flip side to that sentiment. My favorite women to hang around are those who are interested in sports and are capable of engaging in a back and forth discussion. And I know
a lot of men who enjoy having some beers and watching sports with girls who can also enjoy the action. And if they're cute, it's even better!


Did I use "and" too much in that last post?? I don't know, is there a woman out there who perhaps knows more than I do that could help me with my grammar?? :)

Gotta continue to disagree with Medina's contention that the Lakers should have done more for Fisher. Three years and $10.5 million for a 36 year old PG is a better deal that Fish had anywhere else. The organization should no more be condemned for not "respecting" Fish than Fish should be condemned for leaving us for Golden State a few years back. It is business. Both ways.

Fish was given a gift

C'mon MM, the Lakers did throw Fisher a bone. They could definitely have played hard ball with him and I think he would have come back regardless, because he wants to 3-Peat.

I'm going to have to agree with God. The FO gave Fisher a very reasonable contract. The system/organization in place in LA really enables Fisher to maximize the success that he's had. Meaning, yes, he could have perhaps made more money at another location, but it wouldn't have been much more & he couldn't have gone to that organization and brought immediate success with him. Part of his value lies in the continuity that he's developed with his team and with playing under Phil Jackson. Derek Fisher has earned his notoriety with success in May-June and he stayed in the only place where he can continue to build upon his own legacy come May-June. I look @ his resigning as a win/win situation for both player and organization.

Why do I luv DFish...coz he's M.O.N.E.Y.!!!!! :)




Let's go Ls...all the way to a 3-peat!!!!!

ESPN is still feeling the heat for televising the "Decision".

http://tinyurl.com/32ufrw5

ESPN has become a caricature of itself. Watching their telecasts is almost like watching a Saturday Night Live parody of the network.

I really think Mitch Kupchak did a fantastic job of spending Dr. Buss' money this offseason. It's like he went to a discount shopping club and got 4 months worth of groceries with 1 month's budget.

I can understand Derek Fisher's ambiguous feelings about re-signing. Surely, this is where he wanted to wind up. But taking a pay cut is never pleasant, especially when he was such a huge part of the Lakers' playoff success.

I don't think I ever heard him say, however, that another team offered him more than the Lakers. Maybe he didn't want to go public with that information, but it's entirely possible that LA made him the best offer.

I think that deep down, Derek knows that the business end of sports must be served. He's no fool and I'm sure that he found out that the market for point guards of his age and production was not that great.

This quest for a three-peat wouldn't have felt right without DFish. He's been too big a part of the Lakers' success in the last decade and a half. Him being back just feels right.

Fish is one of the greatest human beings in the history of the City of Angels. His priorities are right and Kobe Bean Bryant is right in there with Fish's mix as he should be.

So let me ask this question. What is more impressive, Kobe's playoff run for 23 games culminating with a 7 game series and an NBA championship against the physical, but talented Boston Celtics while playing the ENTIRE time with a bum right knee, a sore left ankle, a bad lower back and a broken, arthritic right index finger or Michael Jordan's heroics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 1998 against the Jazz in Utah when he played with a 103 degree fever?

History has already forgotten Kobe's heroics, but will always remember MJ's. Somebody please explain those equities to me.

Long time lurker, occasional poster...

Just out of curiosity, where are all the people that crushed me mid-season when I said we should keep Fish, and in fact we owed him for all he had already done? Who exactly was supposed to take over at PG during the playoffs?

Oops. The fever game was Game 5 of the 1997 Finals, but you get the idea. My bad.

except that dfish dude... i know what he'll say.

Has anyone ever thought what kind of Politician Derek Fisher would make. He has all the qualities.

Although Derek Fisher has contributed mightily to our team's success, at times these contributions are overvalued. For every "clutch" three pointer, how many drives to the rim did he give to the opponents PG? He is immobile and creates great pressure on the interior defense because he just can't hang with the quick PG's in the league! Steve Blake was agreat addition.

Going back to Matt Barnes... I know that he has a "Believe" tattoo on his neck that went well with the Warriors' "We Believe" theme. There's another one that is very appropriate for all the haters out there. It is this:

“F.T.H”
That stands for “Fuck the Haters.” Everyone out there has an opinion; everyone thinks they’re an expert. And a lot of people out there don’t want to see anybody succeed. I got this one after I got drafted and went to the D-League. People were telling me, “You’ll never be an NBA player, you’ll never do this, you’ll never do that.” Look at me now. That tattoo is pretty self-explanatory.

http://dimemag.com/2007/09/dime-ink-matt-barnes/

@longtimelakerlover-

And granted there are a lot of men who think girls are completely ignorant when it comes to sports and will never give them there fair share of respect when a game is on. And there's also a flip side to that sentiment. My favorite women to hang around are those who are interested in sports and are capable of engaging in a back and forth discussion. And I know
a lot of men who enjoy having some beers and watching sports with girls who can also enjoy the action. And if they're cute, it's even better!


Did I use "and" too much in that last post?? I don't know, is there a woman out there who perhaps knows more than I do that could help me with my grammar?? :)

Posted by: Dan_NBAExpert | July 23, 2010 at 06:39 PM

Dan - There are a lot of men who give women their due when it comes to sports, it's true. The men I work with are great and always ask me what I think about the last game, etc...

It's always a risk to reveal you're female where sports are concerned, but I saw the great reception women have always had on this board and decided to take a chance. Glad I did!

In terms of your grammar, I would refer you to my friend Rosy, who is an editor. I make her edit me all the time! I however, liked your post just the way it was. :-)

I love Fish, but he's not exactly a hero to take the most money offered him AND to play for a defending championship team. Most of the other teams offered him close to the veteran's minimum, including the Heat. If anything, those "negotiations" were just to force the Lakers' hand in giving him the highest contract.

While I'm glad that he's back, I'm not sure the Lakers came out so well. Guaranteed $10.5 million for 3 years? Fish is turning 36 next month. The oldest player in the league is Shaq and he's 38, and he's awful, but he's a center. For guards, age is even more of a factor.

Fish has been in serious decline the past few years, and this past season is no exception. He fits maybe the Horry role of make clutch plays down the stretch (though by no means as clutch) and provides more leadership that Horry ever did, but can he even be effective more than a year, if that?

His salary is high for what he brings to the table, and those millions count against our salary cap. It's even more of an issue with the CBA being re-negotiated and likely the cap will decrease AND we'll get a hard cap as well. And if Fish isn't even able to play the last 2 years of his contract, that's not exactly good news for our team.

I can see why people get sentimental about keeping the team together, but with Fish aging and Bynum being injury prone, it could well be that we enter the playoffs with two of our starters on the sidelines. Considering both their contracts expire at the same time, the two of them combined might be the reason why we can't tweak our team back to contention-level for the final couple of years of Kobe's prime.

If we can engineer a trade for Chris Paul using ideally Odom, but even with Bynum, we set ourselves up for this year AND the future. Yes, I'm aware that CP3 doesn't want to play here, but it's not really his choice. He has no leverage, and if New Orleans is going to trade him, THEY will be making the decision.

I hope Mitch does what Jerry West DEFINITELY would have done which is all he can to get CP3 on the Lakers. Then we'd be in championship-contention for the next 8 years, not just the next 2, maybe 3, when Kobe is still able to play at his MVP-caliber level.

fish - why all the ungratefulness? you're overpaid for your skill set and not worth the sentimental value... if you think for a moment kobe really cares whether you were there or not, you're more delusional than the blind fan base on these blogs. publicly thank the buss family for your good fortune... personally, you were better off in miami - more bang for your buck and a chance to win a ring. now, you can feel good about yourself for being a well paid bench player.

just keepin' it real - IN BUSS WE TRUST!!

Fisher always comes through with clutch shots in the playoffs, (non bigger than game 7 tying shot against Boston), he is at his best when it matters the most, we needed him back more than we thought we did. He is the glue to this team and keeping Kobe in check without confrontation he revitalized the Lakers comradery.
Kobe is a better player and a better man because of Fisher being on the team. That is what we would have lost if fisher left, his leadership and ice cold clutch shooting.

No doubt in my mind we would not have won the championship this year if not for Fish's late game heroics in game 3 at Boston. That was the best I've ever seen Fish play and it came at the most opportune time. His worth to the Lakers is more than just stats alone. Gotta feel good about this upcoming season...


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