Kobe Bryant says facing Derek Fisher will be emotional
Reporting from Dallas — Despite all the accolades for Ramon Sessions, the Lakers haven’t forgotten about Derek Fisher.
They were well aware he signed with Oklahoma City for the rest of the season.
They’ll see him March 29 when they play host to the Thunder, as if that game needed any more story lines.
“It’s going to be emotional, I’m sure, for everybody, him and I in particular,” Kobe Bryant said.
Or as Metta World Peace said: “Kobe and Fish … mmm mmm mmm. Didn’t they win five rings together?”
Fisher had five points and an assist in 19 minutes of his first game with the Thunder, a 114-91 victory Wednesday against the Clippers.
Fisher and Bryant have continued to talk almost daily since the Lakers traded Fisher and a first-round pick March 15 to Houston for reserve forward Jordan Hill. The Rockets bought out his contract, he cleared waivers earlier Wednesday and was able to play after signing with Oklahoma City.
“The Thunder needed him,” Bryant said. “He brings a lot of stability and obviously veteran leadership, and he can make big shots.”
Fisher and Bryant won’t be friends March 29.
“We don’t get five championships by being sympathetic towards each other,” Bryant said. “He understands that. He switches off of me in the post, it’s going to be problems. I’m sure he’ll put an elbow right in my back. That’s why we love each other.”
Fisher acknowledged he was surprised by the Lakers’ trade but didn’t seem ready to talk about it in-depth.
“At the right time, I’ll be able to make statements and say things related to the Lakers and my teammates and guys I used to play with,” he said.
Dallas fans have started booing Mavericks forward Lamar Odom, who continued to struggle since the Lakers traded him three months ago.
“That’s just stupid,” Bryant said.
Odom had one point, one rebound and one assist in 24 minutes of the Lakers’ 109-93 victory Wednesday.
Bryant said he was “pleasantly surprised” the Mavericks hadn’t figured out how to use Odom.
“I hope they don’t unlock that mystery,” he said, smiling. “I know how to use him and use his skill set and this, that and the other.”
March 15 marked the second time this season the Lakers made a move to dump a player’s salary.
They unloaded $34 million in salary and luxury taxes by dealing Odom and saved about $9 million in player costs with their moves last week at the trade deadline.
They found some sympathy from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, of all people, who said, “You can’t argue with their moves.”
“The rules have changed,” he said, referring to the new collective-bargaining agreement. “When you’re above the luxury tax, you’re limited significantly. If you stay about the luxury tax four straight years, you’re crushed. Not financially, though that’s a lot, but in flexibility, you’re crushed. You have to be … stupid to stay up there unless you’ve got the exact team you want.”
Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report from Oklahoma City.
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