The Lakers are left wondering how they’ll fill the leadership gap that Derek Fisher provided in previous seasons.
Meanwhile, Fisher is left wondering if an NBA team will pick him up. After the Lakers traded Fisher for Jordan Hill to the Houston Rockets, a Lakers spokesman said “our understanding is he took a buyout.”
ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne first reported that Fisher took the buyout, is expected to be waived Monady and hopes to sign with a contender. The report mentions Fisher could sign with any team except the Lakers if he clears waivers by Wednesday. Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he didn’t know how to process the news.
“You have to ask him,” Brown said. “You never know. He might have wanted the buyout, so for me to sit here and say what I think would be wrong because he may want it. I don’t know.”
Fisher has declined comment through a representative since the trade, though Lakers forward Matt Barnes said he expressed “shock” through text message exchanges. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchakbelieved Fisher may have felt “emotional” over the situation, but acknowledged he hadn’t talked to him or his representatives.
“We’ll talk at the right time,” Kupchak said.
Kobe Bryant, who has played with Fisher since his rookie season in 1996 and won five NBA championships as the starting backcourt for the Lakers, said he’s been able to gauge his temperament since talking to him frequently over the trade. Still, Bryant refused to elaborate on Fisher’s current state of being.
“Ask Derek. He’s much more politically correct than I am,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 97-92 win Friday over Minnesota. “Talk to Derek about it. I’m sure Derek will answer it the best way he sees fit.”