The first foray of Derek Fisher’s free-agent tour ended almost as quickly as it began, with a rapid run through the NBA’s newest epicenter.
Fisher met with Miami Heat owner Micky Arison and team President Pat Riley on Saturday at a swank South Beach hotel, where he was assured of the Heat’s interest in a five-time champion who’s a month away from turning 36. Fisher also had a brief chat with LeBron James after they crossed paths at a private airport.
“They want him to be the starting point guard for the Miami Heat,” said an NBA source who was not authorized to speak on the matter publicly. “They are really, really recruiting him. They feel he would be a perfect fit.”
It was not known if Miami offered a contract to Fisher, who flew back to Los Angeles on a private plane Saturday, less than 24 hours after landing in Miami.
Fisher’s preference is to remain with the Lakers, although Miami, Chicago, Minnesota and New Jersey have expressed interest in him.
“It’s all about options for him and for him to figure out what’s best,” the source said.
The Lakers have offered Fisher about $5 million over two years. He made $5 million last season and was hoping to secure a multi-year deal worth that much annually.
It’s hard to decipher what Miami could offer Fisher, because so many players have been added to the Heat’s roster in such a short time.
Miami could pay him at least $1.35 million next season, the veteran’s minimum for a player with Fisher’s experience, but a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said as much as $4 million could remain under the Heat’s salary cap after all their contract figures are ironed out.
It was unclear how much the Heat would consider offering to Fisher.
The Lakers, who signed free-agent guard Steve Blake to a four-year, $16-million contract, wait and see.
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