A few weeks ago, rumors began to circulate that Derek Fisher might end up returning to the Los Angeles Lakers at some point this year. Because the NBA mandates that players who are traded by a given team not return to that team for a full year or until their contract runs out, it was assumed that if this were to happen, it wouldn’t happen for a few months. And seeing as the Lakers are a championship contender who is looking to get into a certain flow as the season progresses, the likelihood of them holding out a roster spot for Fisher seemed slim.
Well, according to a new report by Marc Stein of ESPN, the prospect of Fisher reuniting with the only team people associate him with anyway may be a lot more realistic than anyone originally anticipated. Via Stein’s report:
The NBA’s new labor agreement stipulates that a player traded and then waived by the team that acquired him can’t re-sign with his original team for one year or until the traded contract runs out -- whichever comes first. But in Fisher’s case, confusion surrounding his player option for the 2012-13 season led to the belief in some league circles that he had picked up the option before the Houston Rockets bought him out. In reality, sources confirm, Fisher – was bought out by Houston before he was eligible to invoke the 2012-13 option, which means that his contract was deemed to have ended June 30, sending Fisher to full-fledged free agency on July 1.
So there you go. A reunion is now definitely going to happen, right? Wrong.
While the idea of Fisher being back in purple and gold is great, there are still a lot of loose ends preventing it from actually happening. For one thing, the Lakers are loaded with point guards and don’t really have room their old floor general at the moment. There were some rumors last week about them possibly moving Chris Duhon and/or Steve Blake, but rumors are just that – rumors. The other major dilemma facing this potential marriage is money. The Lakers don’t have any.
Given all that, to say that Fisher and the Lakers reuniting is inevitable is probably a stretch. A lot of things still need to happen. Here is the best way to think about this situation right now: it’s far more likely today than it was a week ago.