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Breaking Down Why Derek Fisher's Return to L.A. Lakers Is a Long Shot

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Breaking Down Why Derek Fisher's Return to L.A. Lakers Is a Long Shot
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It is rare that a player builds a rapport with an organization that proves timeless in nature. More instances than not see a relationship built between the two sides that either deteriorates upon their departure or lasts up until retirement by virtue of their remaining together.

As Derek Fisher and the Los Angeles Lakers have shown us, however, it is never too late for second chances. Or, in this case, a third.

Fisher has won five NBA championships with the Lakers, starting at point guard in each of those seasons. In total, he has spent 13 years with the franchise since they drafted him in 1996.

As fate would only have it, however, those years have been split into two separate stints.

Fish was with the team from 1996 to 2004 before leaving for three years to play with the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz. His second stint began in 2007 and lasted until March of 2012, when he was traded to the Houston Rockets for center Jordan Hill (via Yahoo! Sports).

Just seven months later, Fisher finds himself on the free agent market with speculation surrounding his future with, you guessed it, the Los Angeles Lakers. His re-signing would mark his third tenure with the franchise.

It would also mark an impossibility coming to fruition. In other words, Derek Fisher will not be rejoining the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012-13.

 

Depth Already Present

The Los Angeles Lakers of 2012-13 are not the team that Derek Fisher grew accustomed to playing for. There is no gaping void at point guard as there had been for the past decade, which beckons the question of where he'd fit in.

Steve Nash is the unquestioned starter. If anyone were to suggest that Fisher would give him a run for his job, they'd need to take a step back and reevaluate what they know about basketball as an art and business.

They'd also have to explain whether or not they'd ever seen Nash play.

Beyond the two-time MVP are two players that are younger than Fisher and capable of virtually the same things. Steve Blake and Chris Duhon have never proven to be quality role players, so what more do the Lakers need?

Nash continues to play over 30 minutes a night and that is unlikely to change this season. This leaves a 12-to-18 minute gap each night for role players to fill his void, which will likely be split between Blake, Duhon and even Jodie Meeks if the team goes big.

Unless injury strikes, there is no place for Fisher to fit into this puzzle.

0.4 was a long, long time ago...

 

Age is a Factor

Fisher may be a proven veteran, but he is also 38 years old. Considering he has been on the receiving end of criticism for his dwindling abilities for virtually a half-decade, it is safe to say that there isn't much left in D-Fish's tank.

So why take a risk on him?

The Lakers already have a 38-year-old point guard in Steve Nash that lacks the same thing as D-Fish: defensive prowess. The difference is, Nash is playing as if he were in his prime and Fisher is no longer contributing at a reasonable level.

There is no rationale in believing he'll add to the team unless it is his leadership and experience. The question is, how long will Fish wait for a deal?

 

Can't Re-Sign Until March 15, 2013

Even if the Lakers and Fisher expressed mutual interest in a re-signing, there would be a five month period before the action could take place.

According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Fisher is legally ineligible to re-sign with the Lakers until March 15, 2013. This comes as a result of the previously mentioned trade between the Lakers and Rockets, which led to Fisher eventually having his contract bought out by Houston (via ESPN.com).

In turn, his eligibility to be re-signed has been postponed. The likelihood that he wears purple and gold in 2013 becomes a virtual impossibility.

Apologies to Derek Fisher and the Los Angeles Lakers, but this reunion is a long shot. 

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