Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher are now on different teams, but they've shared the same backcourt for the majority of their careers.
After Fisher was traded to the Houston Rockets, he was bought out of his contract and signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the remainder of the season.
The veteran point guard will be a free agent at season's end and he'll have to make a choice about where he'll go to continue his career.
If it's up to Bryant, Fisher will come back to the Lakers.
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com reports that Bryant is "planning a hard push to recruit Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom back to the Lakers as free agents this summer."
Although Howard-Cooper writes that it's "unclear" if either would be receptive to the idea, each is known to love Los Angeles and would likely be amenable to the idea of returning to the Lakers.
Specifically, Fisher would likely love to finish his career alongside Bryant wearing a Lakers uniform.
Here is part of the statement Fisher gave to the media before Thursday's game against the Lakers (via John Rohde of the Oklahoman).
“Like I said last week, the place that this city and these fans and everyone I grew close to over the years, they and this place will always, always hold a very special place in my heart."
That doesn't sound like a man who would rule out a possible return to the team following this season.
The problem with having Fisher on the Lakers' roster at this time can be traced back to two things: an obvious need for an upgrade at starting point guard as well as Fisher's contract situation.
Now that he won't be making north of $3 million next season and the Lakers have amassed increase financial flexibility moving forward following the trade deadline, it's entirely possible Fisher could return to the Lakers in a lesser role.
Mitch Kupchak would be wise to pick up that phone.
He's not going to come in and turn into a younger version of himself, but he'd be perfect to run the offense in the second unit while playing 15-20 minutes per game.
More importantly, the Fisher coming back would appease Bryant in a big way. Bryant hasn't lost touch with Fisher just because he's moved onto a new team.
"I talk to him pretty much every single day, though. Still. In terms of our personal relationship, this really hasn’t been any separation in that sense."
For two players who have grown so close to one another while wearing a Lakers uniform, it's only natural for Fisher to return and finish his career alongside Bryant.
The Lakers will need another point guard off the bench in the offseason and assuming he'd come at the right price, there should be one obvious answer as to how that role should be filled.
Derek Fisher, wearing his rightful No. 2 and wearing the purple and gold.
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