37-year-old Derek Fisher, #2 for the LA Lakers, was traded on Thursday March 15, 2012 to the Houston Rockets with a first-round draft pick for Jordan Hill. The Rockets even agreed to pay the remaining 3.4 million on Derek’s contract. Derek had 48 hours to report to Houston but Houston and LA agreed upon an extension to 72 hours. Derek Fisher never showed up.
Fisher started his NBA career as a LA Laker in 1996. He played for the Lakers until 2004 when he became a Warrior in Golden State. He was in Golden State for 2 years then spent 1 year in Utah. After that Derek went back to LA and has been there ever since. But last Thursday the LA Lakers traded Fisher to Houston, but Derek never went to Houston. The trade was unexpected and I am sure had to be hurtful for Fisher. The general manager for the Lakers, Mitch Kupchak had stated that Fisher was not given a heads up about the trade, or that he was even being considered for one. During Houston’s game Saturday night Derek was a no-show. Kevin McHale, Rocket’s head coach said, “I haven’t seen Derek yet. I have not talked to him.” Derek had till late afternoon on Sunday to report to his new team.
Sunday night Derek Fisher’s business manager, Jamie Wior released a statement confirming that the Houston Rockets and Derek Fisher agreed upon a buyout.
“After much discussion and expressing their desire to welcome Derek to their team this season as well as the 2012-2013 season, the Houston Rockets and Derek have negotiated a buyout. Derek’s desire to win a sixth championship is what drives him and will continue to drive him as he moves forward. We thank the Houston Rockets front office for their interest, time and their absolute professionalism. There will be no further comment at this time.”
What is a buyout? Well many compare it to a divorce. Basically it is when the team and the play under contract decide to split up. When this happens, the team must pay the player the remaining salary of their contract. Then the player is placed on waivers and teams are given 48 hours to claim him.
In this situation the Rockets would be expected to pay the 3.4 million to Fisher, but according to The Houston Chronicle Fisher gave up the 3.4 million and will not require Houston to pay it. I guess that is the least he can do.
So where will Derek end up that will help him get that 6th championship? Miami? Oklahoma? Boston? In my personal opinion, I believe the teams that have a chance at winning the title this year are Oklahoma or Miami.
UPDATE: On Wednesday March 21, 2012 Derek Fisher signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the rest of the season. When Derek joined the team he picked a different number to wear on his jersey. He decided to go with the number 37, his age. After mentioning how others in the NBA saw his age as a bad thing, Derek said, “So I just wanted to send a message that the Thunder organization and I see it (his age) as a positive that I’m a guy that can still help a team be successful and compete for a championship at the age of 37.” Good choice by Derek Fisher. Now Derek just has to back up his decisions and fight for that 6th championship.