Lakers’ Derek Fisher says this won’t be his last season
Could this be the end of the NBA line for Derek Fisher?
Not in his eyes.
Could this be his last season playing for the Lakers?
That’s possible, Fisher acknowledged.
But right now, Fisher isn’t thinking that he’s 35, that he’s a 14-year veteran, that he doesn’t have a contract beyond this season with the Lakers.
Fisher’s thoughts are on helping the Lakers win consecutive championships, on playing his best to help the cause.
He made his case Sunday, scoring 11 points, hitting the back-breaking three-pointer late that helped push the Lakers to an 87-79 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of a Western Conference first-round series Sunday at Staples Center.
“I put aside as far as me thinking this could be it in terms of my last postseason playing basketball,” Fisher said. “I know for sure that’s not true.
“This is the last year on my contract. I know I want to play basketball after this. I will play basketball as long as somebody is willing to offer me a job. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be on a team that can win a championship.
“So, from that perspective now is the only thing that matters. You can’t think about next year. You can’t think about the past. It’s just about right now.”
Fisher has had his share of big plays, of making big shots for the Lakers during the 11 seasons he has played for the team.
Fisher made two memorable three-pointers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals last June against the Orlando Magic, one that tied the score to send the game into overtime and another that gave the Lakers breathing room in OT.
So it didn’t come as a surprise Sunday that Fisher stepped into that void again.
The Lakers were holding a seven-point lead late in the game and now were in need of a good shot.
Fisher dribbled the ball upcourt and surveyed the Thunder defense. He knew there were multiple options in the “set” they were going to run on this trip downcourt.
Fisher read the situation, noticing that Russell Westbrook was a few steps away, which gave Fisher room for a shot.
Fisher rose up and knocked down a 26-foot three-pointer that gave the Lakers an 84-74 lead with 1:30 remaining.
The officials reviewed the play, making sure it was a three-pointer. First, they it was ruled a two-pointer and then changed it back to a three-pointer after another review.
“I’m glad I was able to knock it down,” Fisher said, “and kind of help get a little bit more of a cushion on the game for us there in the fourth quarter.”
Fisher is earning $5 million this season, the last year of his deal.
He knows the Lakers may not ask him back next season.
“Yeah, I know, but that’s the reality of this business,” Fisher said. “I’ve tried to remind other guys as well. Last year we win the championship. This year we come back and Trevor [Ariza] is gone [to Houston]. So next year, somebody else at the table can be gone, regardless if we win or lose. That’s the reality of the business.
“That’s what you’ve got to carry with you in some of those regular-season games in February.
It’s just that you look up and you’re out on the floor with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and Phil Jackson is your coach and you’re on national TV every night and everywhere you go the arena is sold out. You look up eight months later and you’re somewhere else. That’s a different world. I’ve been there. I’m not afraid of it, but I know the realities.”
Fisher departed the Lakers after the 2003-04 season.
After stops with the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz, Fisher made his way back to the Lakers in 2007.
He would like to finish his career with the Lakers.
One way or another, Fisher plans on playing again next season in the NBA.
“Yeah, for sure,” Fisher said. “That’s not a question.”