The Los Angeles Lakers are free to sign Derek Fisher. It's too bad they don't need him.
It was originally believed that Fisher, who was moved by L.A. during last year's trade deadline, wouldn't be able to re-sign with the Lake Show until March, but ESPN's Marc Stein put the kibosh on that late Tuesday night:
Sources briefed on the discussions told ESPN.com on Monday that Fisher has, indeed, been verified by the league office as eligible to re-sign with the Lakers since July 1, which runs counter to the widely held assumption that Fisher had to wait at least one year from the date that the Lakers dealt him to Houston in March before a reunion with Kobe Bryant would be permissible.
That's all good and well, but with the exception of his giant biceps, what exactly would Fish bring to this team?
His skills certainly aren't what they used to be.
The 37-year-old shot an anemic 32 percent from three-point range on just under two attempts per game last year, easily his worst shooting season since 2006-07. Additionally, his per-36 minute numbers of 8.4 points, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.7 turnovers on 37 percent shooting are well, downright atrocious.
At the very least, they aren't numbers that Steve Blake can't produce.
If not for Fisher's high basketball IQ, leadership abilities and reputation for hitting clutch jumper after clutch jumper, his production would have him nowhere near a conversation regarding Los Angeles' roster.
That's the thing, though—the Lakers don't need any of those things.
They already have enough leaders. No matter what Iron Man will try to tell you, this is still Kobe Bryant's team and he's about as vocal as a human being can possibly be. He's the obvious leader. Steve Nash is a newbie, but he's a 16-year veteran point guard. It would be impossible for him to not have leadership qualities at this point in his career. Pau Gasol, another veteran, isn't quiet.
Derek Fisher isn't going to bring anything that Bryant, Nash or Gasol don't already provide.
Then you have the clutch factor.
However, it's not like Fisher is going to start every game and average 26 minutes per contest. He's going to be sitting on the bench for most of the time.
If the Lakers want to have him in the game during "clutch" time, what are they going to do? Bench Steve Nash for a cold Derek Fisher? It doesn't really work that way.
A third stint for Fisher in L.A. would certainly make the most loyal fans very happy, but when it comes down to it, he won't provide anything that Steve Blake can't and he certainly doesn't have the potential that someone like Darius Morris possesses.