For Laker fans everywhere, today was supposed to feel like Christmas. They were supposed to finally land Dwight Howard, a young PG and a Red Ryder BB Gun.
At first, everything seemed to be going well. The Lakers traded away Luke Walton and the contract from Hell to the Cavs along with a first pick for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga. A great move, given that this gives the Lakers a point guard to effectively run their offense and shoot the ball for a few more years, instead of who they have starting there right now.
Who was that again?
Oh yeah, Derek Fisher.
Now here’s where the Lakers Christmas Story started to feel like they shot their eye out.
Why would the Lakers do this, they asked. What about loyalty, they cried. He can play on the bench, they pleaded.
Why did they do it? Derek Fisher is old and overpaid. He’s 37 going on 38 and he’s owed 3 million dollars next season guaranteed. He’s not going to start over Sessions and won’t play a back-up role on the bench behind Sessions and Steve Blake, who’s contract is up at the end of the season. Derek Fisher is too proud to take a behind the scenes role. The same thing happened in 2004 when Gary Payton and Karl Malone pushed Fisher to the bench. He got upset and signed with Golden State. When that didn’t work out he was moved to Utah and when the starting job on the Lakers opened back up, he signed with Los Angeles. So, it’s not highly likely that Fisher would have enjoyed sitting out the end of his career on the bench in Los Angeles. Especially when he seems to have more support amongst the players than Mike Brown, who has started to see results with the players in his system.
What do you do in a situation where you have something you have no use for and need to get rid of before it’s a problem?
You see what you can get for it. Luckily for the Lakers, they found a team stupid enough to take on an aging veteran with a big contract leaving a team that didn’t want him anymore. Worked for one of the other Dallas teams as well, if I remember correctly.
So they basically flipped Derek Fisher for a bench player and a first round pick in next year’s loaded draft while avoiding locker room turmoil? Seems like a good move.
As for the loyalty aspect? With an organization like the Lakers and a star player like Kobe Bryant, loyalty means nothing when it comes to winning. Kobe has one thing like Jordan that I won’t ever argue with. Kobe would kill a guy to get a championship, even if it was his own teammate. Kobe doesn’t care who is on his team when he wins a championship, he just cares that he wins one.
Same with the Lakers and any professional sports franchise. It’s a business. When you become a liability, you’re dropped. Plain and simple. It’s not the way sports fans like to think about it, but it’s the truth. This isn’t an all-time great like Gretzky getting traded from Edmonton so the owner can get money. This is a player who the Lakers no longer have a use for and are moving on from.
Laker fans right now sound like the girlfriend who keeps getting back with her crappy boyfriend because “they have so many memories together.”
So many memories? Derek Fisher isn’t a Hall of Famer, not even close. He’s not even a shoe in to get his number retired. Look at who the Lakers have retired the numbers of. Magic, Kareem, Wilt, Elgin, West, and Goodrich. The only one who is questionable, would be Goodrich, until you realize he led the Lakers in scoring for 4 seasons.
Derek Fisher? He won 5 championships and played a “crucial” role on those teams. Really?
He was the 3rd best player behind Kobe and Shaq on the first three and the 4th best behind Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol on his last 2 championships.
The Lakers retire the numbers of All-Time greats. Players that transcended the franchise and were at the top of the league. All Fisher has going for him is 5 championships. Robert Horry has 7, and I don’t believe the Naismith Hall of Fame will be calling him any time soon.
Derek Fisher is a great leader and has a lot of knowledge about the sport. He’ll be a great coach someday, but he’s not going to be a great player right now, and that’s what the Lakers need at point guard.
This is a great move for the Lakers going forward. They are able to help build for the future, while trimming salary of a player they won’t use. Be thankful for the years you got with Fisher, Laker fans, and be even more thankful what he gave you on the way out. It could be a lot worse. You could be sitting here a year and a half from now with Kobe 2 years older, still with 5 rings and Derek Fisher retiring with you getting nothing for it except cap room.
Besides, this will all blow over once you start talking about getting Dwight Howard and Derron Williams next summer.