He’s back, Laker fans! Derek Fisher is back! Not for one, not for two, but almost unbelievably for three years.
And all of Los Angeles just drew a collective sigh of relief.
Sorry if any of you missed Fisher’s hour-long, nationwide telecast to announce his decision. Oh, yeah, that’s right, there wasn’t one.
I guess the reason for that is Fisher exemplifies the character of a true champion rather than a narcissistic wannabe.
The other point is that Fisher probably agrees with Michael Jordan, who, over the weekend settled the Kobe Bryant-Lebron James debate. At his basketball camp, Jordan was asked who was better James or Bryant. Jordan simply and accurately replied: “Kobe is.”
"I have decided to continue with Kobe, continue with our teammates and the fans of Los Angeles," Fisher said in a statement. "While this may not be the most lucrative contract I've been offered this off-season, it is the most valuable. I am confident I will continue to lead this team on and off the court. Let the hunt for six begin..."
Fisher emphasized his relationship with Bryant as the main reason for his return:
"At the end of the day, there's one person I could not turn away from. Kobe Bryant asked me to stay but supported whatever decision I made," Fisher said. "He and I have played together for 11 seasons, came into the league together as kids, and has been loyal to me even when others had doubts. We have won five championships together."
Not only do the Lakers now have two very capable, veteran point guards in Fisher and Steve Blake, who are also top defenders, but they also have two of the top three players in the Las Vegas Summer League as well as another point guard who could make the team.
Kudos to Mitch Kupchak. What a draft picker! His number 43 pick, Devin Ebanks is the No. 1 player in Las Vegas, scoring 24 and 21 points in his first two games.
Kupchak’s number 58 pick, power forward Derick Caracter, is the No. 3 player in Las Vegas with 20/10 and 17/12 in his first two games.
Ibrahim Jaaber, a 2007 All-Ivy League point guard from Penn, who has spent a few years playing in Italy with Lottomatica Roma where he roomed with Brandon Jennings on road trips, has been opening some eyes in Las Vegas. He still needs to work on playing the point in the triangle system, but he does have an outside chance of being the Lakers’ fourth or fifth point guard.