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Derek Fisher returns to the Lakers — but for three years?

Jul 12, 2010, 5:02 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Fisher Trophy.jpgDerek Fisher was coming back to the Lakers.

He flirted with Miami, but they could offer even less money than the Lakers. And more than money, it was about comfort. He fits well in the triangle. He could win titles in L.A. And Kobe Bryant wanted him back. It was going to happen.

But for three years?

That’s what Fisher himself reports on his Web site.

“I have decided to continue with Kobe, continue with our teammates and the fans of Los Angeles. While this may not be the most lucrative contract I’ve been offered this off-season, it is the most valuable. I am confident I will continue to lead this team on and off the court. Let the hunt for six begin.

The Lakers signed Steve Blake this off-season and expect him to get the bulk of the minutes at the point this season. Even if Fisher starts. That’s because Blake is a much better player than Fisher at this point in their careers — Fisher shot just 38 percent last season and was consistently burned on defense in the regular season.

But in the playoffs, Fisher is one of those guys who finds another level. The Lakers ran into Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook and none of them destroyed the Lakers. Fisher did a good job forcing them to help. He hit his shots.

In the locker room, Fisher is the steady, positive influence to Kobe’s hard-driving personality. Kobe is the bad cop, Fisher is the good cop. It’s key, and Kobe knew that and lobbied for Fisher to get a new deal.

Still, three years?

Fisher’s skills are deteriorating and he will turn 39 by the end of this contract. We don’t know what the Lakers will be paying, but this is a three-year deal with Fisher having the option in the last year. That keeps him around through the rest of this run with Kobe and Pau Gasol.

For three years.

  1. Min - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    And the third is supposedly a player option.
    I don’t quite understand it, unless somehow the third is partially guaranteed or there’s some other stipulations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure his leadership will be worth it in the playoffs…but I agree with Kurt: 3 years seems too long, unless he decides to retire early and be a Sam Cassell type non-plyaing “player coach” in his 3rd year.

  2. jebb dykstra - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Sounds like the 3rd year is bonus money for being a key part of 5 Lakers’ titles. 3 yrs @ $2.5 mm per. Maybe he’ll be the coach in years 2 and 3 after Phil retires!!

  3. Craig W. - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Fish’s 3rd year is the reason players stay with the Lakers. They take care of their players, if the players are loyal to the club.
    My guess is that the Lakers will gain by having to pay less each year – reducing their luxury tax load – and Fish can choose to retire and collect the money as an inside employee, like Rudy T. did.
    The Lakers keep most things inside the organization and this is another example of why.

  4. Scot B - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Fisher made the right move. I don’t care how good the big 3 in Miami is, they’re not going to win any championships with Mario Chalmers at point guard. That’s why they were talking to Fisher. If Miami thought that Fisher, given his age and defensive deficiencies, is better than Chalmers, then they are in big trouble.

  5. Josh - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    3rd year is essentially deferred money, so they don’t have to pay him as much this year. You could maybe say that about the 2nd year as well. By paying him that money as salary 2 years from now (when he might be retired actually) you are saving the full amount in luxury taxes. Say they signed him for two years at $5M a year (when you really only need him for one year). That’s $10M + $10M in luxury tax in the next 2 years — $20M. With this deal, you pay him $7.5M over the next THREE years (instead of 2), + $7.5M in luxury tax — $15M. On top of that, if he retires after next year, or the year after, then Lakers don’t pay the extra luxury tax. It ends up being $2.5M + $2.5M tax + $2.5M + $2.5M = $10M, AND he could be a great assistant coach after next season. So, in answer to your question “BUT THREE YEARS???” Uh, yeah, it’s pretty simple.

  6. Elegantgent - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    the lakers and kobe are not stupid and neither is pat riley and the heat. if anyone thinks the fisher is better than chalmer then your missing the point of the pat riley. the reason they really want fisher is he can show them(the heat)how to beat the lakers and the lakers also know that fisher has inside info on how 2 beat them so it has nothing to do with talent at this its all about inside info.!!!

  7. Ben - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Westbrook didn’t torch them in the playoffs? cause i remember him destroying them so badly kobe had to publicly plead with phil to defend him. Westbrook only had 1 bad game that entire series.

  8. Celtic Fan - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    Since when did Derek Fisher EVER lead the Lakers? Here’s hoping the Lakers fall with their OLD guard trying to keep up!

  9. Marty - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    You are all kidding yourself, Fish is old n slow n the Lakers need a real point to play. Defense not an old guy who shows up from time to time. Fish as a player off the bench with Odom would be a good move..
    BUT the Lakers NEED to unload Andrew & use Jim as trade bait along with Ron & Sasha the three need to be gone

  10. Vegas AL - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Very good move by the Lakers! The Lakers are Champions because they play smart Basketball, have the best coach, Make Excellent Management Decisions, have Excellent Leadership in the locker room in Derek Fisher, have the best Big man on the court in Pau Gasol, and the best finisher in the League, Kobe Bryant. If you understand the concept of TEAM, it spells 3 PEAT!!

  11. Drew - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Scot B, I think you’re being a little extreme here. Mario Chalmers is only entering his third season. He’s going to get better despite a slight regression from his rookie year. Chalmers is also going to find life a lot easier playing with the new Big 3 where he essentially will just be asked orchestrate the offense, defend opposing PGs, and make some open shots. Just because they were interested in Fisher doesn’t mean they thought he was better than Chalmers. Chalmers is the only PG on the roster. They need depth.
    Also, I seem to remember Fisher having a difficult time with Westbrook, Nash, and Deron Williams who was not mentioned in this article. They were able to hide his defensive liabilities with great team defense.

  12. Vegas AL - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    Sounds like you are referring to your Celtics. They got punked out by the Orlando Magic. Dwight Howard personally destroyed Big Baby. Knocked his Ass out cold! Flattened Kendrick Perkins, and Bitch Slapped Paul Perkins. A one man wrecking crew. And you have to go against him again next year. Doesn’t sound too good for the OLD CELTICS! You won’t even make it into the 3rd round of the Playoffs! Back to the drawing board boys!

  13. Flopping Fish - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    Good Move Fish! Miami would have sucked with all the flopping you and Pau do. I say Steve Nash to Miami (though probably impossible) because if anyone in the league deserves a ring, Steve Nash does.

  14. the shark - Jul 12, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    R U on drugs Marty?:( @ least Sasha & Artest put in their contribution for the championship. What about that mascot sitting on the bench making all of that money. Luke Walton I’m talking about. He just a mascot. Should of been gone long time ago. Want u talking about him. Dude I hope u won’t be general mgr one day. That’s bad trade my friend.:( I’m glad the other dragging on the bench gone too.

  15. luffy - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    First off, I’m a Lakers fan. I’m very happry that they signed D’Fish back, he could teach Blake how to play the game the Lakers way…
    I believe next year’s finals would be another Lakers-Celtics w/the Lakers winning in 6 games. If not the Celts, it’s gonna be Chicago in the finals, not that damn Miami team, they’d win championships but not next season…

  16. Lion WAGe oods - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Derek Fisher has earned the right to a decent contract. I thought it was absolutely necessary that the Lakers retained DF. He had some problems from the field shooting the ball and perhaps some problems on D, but all in all Fish made the big plays and more importantly he handles the ball well. If not for his ball handling skills the Lakers would have a hard time getting the ball across midcourt. So I say the Lakers took a huge step to another Three Peat. Age may be a factor in most players turning 37 but Fish is quite the athlete. I still think Magic Johnson could lace em up if he really wanted to. p.s. If Miami had signed Fish I think the Heat would definitely have a dream of a season… perhaps JJ Redick will answer the call for them. We will see.

  17. DUKE - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Are you guys stupid(including Kurt Helin)? He didnt say the contract was 3years. He said “let the hunt for 6 begin”. He’s refering to 6 titles because he already has 5!!! quit trying to read between the lines and read the lines!

  18. loungefly - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    Fish’s intangibles are priceless. The game heavily involves chemistry. That’s why he is back. Yes, he is old and has lost some steps but the guy just comes up big when he needs too. This moves makes Kobe very happy which is what us Laker fans want. I am glad we brought in Blake for young legs but fortunate to have Fish as well with his wisdom. As “Josh” has pointed out, I’m sure the Lakers did their math homework on this. The guy is a 5-timer…a gamer! I don’t remember Phil ever losing confidence in him. Bravo on the Lakers bringing Fish back. The guy almost made me cry when he was overwhelmed with emotion after game 3 in the finals during his interview…the guy is all heart. Who wouldn’t want someone like that playing for them. Go Fish.

  19. mikesporty - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:34 PM

    keep hoping… moronic celtic fan!

  20. SP - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    Hey nimrod, Fisher’s agent said the deal was for 3 years so there is nothing to read into!! Know the facts before making a complete a$$ out of yourself.

  21. DUKE - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:05 AM

    RIGHT! and i’m sure you gonna show me the agents statement, when there has been no contract signed……so SP is short for stupid p#$k?

  22. Justain - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    Fisher Agrees to three-year-contract (LA Times)
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-0713-lakers-derek-fisher-20100713,0,6291393.story
    Like Josh said, three years is to take care of Fisher. That gives Fisher an extra year to play if he wishes to. Also, it’s a gesture stating that Fisher is welcome to retire in LA. It’s something pretty damn special.
    I liked what one reporter wrote. He wrote that Fish didn’t want to leave, but he didn’t want to beg. This deal couldn’t have turned out better. Even if Fish was on the team for moral support and leadership, and maybe 15 minutes off the bench, I’d be more than happy.
    Does anyone know the details of his contract? LA Times reports that it is believed to be a 3 year deal totaling $10.5m. I’m guessing it’s going to be a back-end deal where he gets more next year when Sasha’s contract expires. Or is it just a $3.5m deal? I thought the main reason the Lakers weren’t offering Fish more was because Jerry Buss wanted to save on the lux tax. I became way more appreciative of the Buss family when I realized that including the luxury tax, the Lakers’ payroll is over $100 million, and that’s not including the coaches, trainers, tape-editors, Laker girls, Christina Aguilera etc. Anyways, it would be nice if anyone knew the details.
    Let’s get a double three-peat!

  23. avomonster - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:18 AM

    All is right in the universe again. We will be in the moment on the way to number six. Thanks Kobe, D-Fish, Mitch, Phil, Pau, RonRon, Andrew, Lamar and all the other greats that make up this team. There’s no I in the Lakers, there’s no quit in the Lakers and thank god we don’t have a bunch of idiot egos like LeQuit and DWaste there to screw up the vibe.

  24. Alan/Portsmouth RI - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    What we all are missing…. in the player “ARMS BUILDUP” race at Miami, the egos desperately needed a player named D-Fish to keep them in check. It be fun to watch when Miami has a losing streak. D-Fish is the star player’s hand holding shrink, who is respected enough to be be able to get into a “star’s” face when needed. He has the calming influence needed for a team of “I’s” to gel into a championship.
    Miami is arming themselves with “I’s”. D-Fish is a “we”. Look at the Yankees for 10 years with the who’s who of “I’s”….never won a thing.
    Riley is a great coach and team president. But he will soon know how Custer felt going into Little Big Horn. No one can coach a team of chiefs.

  25. Alex - Jul 13, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    The Lakers NEED to unload Andrew? A healthy Bynum is what is keeping the Lakers atop the NBA. No one, not even the Heat right now match up with a healthy Bynum, Gasol, Kobe and Artest with Odom off the bench. The fact the Lakers can keep two good 7 footers on the floor at all times is how they create match up problems all over the court. That’s how Orlando got into the Finals two years ago with Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard and Gortat. And contrary to popular opinion, the triangle doesn’t need a great point to run it.

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