Derek Fisher justifies his return to Oklahoma City

Kevin Durant, center, is congratulated by Russell Westbrook, left, and Derek Fisher after hitting a three-pointer that wound up being the game-winner.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Former Lakers guard Derek Fisher signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder last week, joining the team for another playoff run.

Earlier in the season, Fisher had signed with the Dallas Mavericks but asked out of his contract to spend more time with his family.

On hearing Fisher was re-signing with the Thunder, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gave a snide remark to the Dallas Morning News.

“Look, I understand completely,” Cuban said sarcastically. “From the time Derek was here to his signing with OKC, his kids are older, they can deal with things better. So I understand him having more comfort in being away from them.”

At Staples Center over the weekend to face the Clippers, Fisher responded to Cuban’s comments.


“I was being open and honest at the time and I’m being open and honest now,” said Fisher. “At the time, I felt strong about the decision on a personal level. It wasn’t anything about Dallas or Mark that I was not happy about. Just personally, I didn’t enjoy being away from my family at the time.

“Over the last couple of months, being out of the game and having a chance to reflect on some things and think about some things, when this opportunity presented itself and I thought about the totality of my career, I decided that this was something I deserved to do for myself,” continued Fisher. “Sometimes as a leader, you can’t make decisions based on what other people are going to think or how they’re going to feel. You just do what you think is right at that time and that’s what I’m doing here.”

This isn’t the first time Fisher has gotten out of a contract early. Fisher left the Utah Jazz to move to Los Angeles to help his daughter successfully fight through a rare case of retinoblastoma, a form of cancer of the eye.

Fisher rejoined the Lakers, ultimately contributing to two additional titles.

“I respect Mark, I respected Coach [Rick] Carlisle, I respect their team,” said Fisher. “That will never change, but it’s not about everyone else necessarily. It’s just about making a decision I felt was best for me at this time.”

The Lakers visit Fisher and the Thunder on Tuesday night.

Times Staff Writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report.


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