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Derek Fisher to return to the Lakers [Updated]

July 12, 2010 |  1:39 pm


Derek Fisher will return to the Lakers. 

The deal is a three-year contract, with the third year a player option.

It took a little time, and some give-and-take on the financial front, but the Lakers and Fisher just weren’t ready to part ways.

The Lakers agreed to terms with their veteran guard, bringing back a steadying locker-room influence who just happens to be one of the top clutch shooters of the last decade.

The negotiations got off to a slow start, with the Lakers not willing to match the $5 million per year Fisher was paid under his previous contract. After re-signing Fisher, the Lakers now have two solid, chemistry-enhancing veterans, the other being Steve Blake, at ball-handling guard in their backcourt.

"I have decided to continue with Kobe [Bryant], continue with our teammates and the fans of Los Angeles," Fisher said in a statement. "While this may not be the most lucrative contract I've been offered this off-season, it is the most valuable. I am confident I will continue to lead this team on and off the court. Let the hunt for six begin..."
Fisher repeatedly endorsed playing alongside Bryant.
"At the end of the day, there's one person I could not turn away from. Kobe Bryant asked me to stay but supported whatever decision I made," Fisher said. "He and I have played together for 11 seasons, came into the league together as kids, and has been loyal to me even when others had doubts. We have won five championships together."

Fisher, who turns 36 in August, will be the starter at point guard. Blake, whom the Lakers recently acquired after he agreed to a four-year, $16-million contract, will be the understudy. 

For an interactive graphic on all the NBA free-agent moves so far this off-season, click here

-- Broderick Turner and Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Derek Fisher celebrates his fifth NBA title. Credit: Lucy Nicholson, Reuters