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It’s official: Derek Fisher joins Thunder, will play Wednesday

Mar 21, 2012, 6:42 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks Getty Images

This tweet from Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman says all you need to know:

Derek Fisher just walked in the Thunder’s locker room.

It’s what he brings to that locker room — more than on the court — that got the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign the five-time champion Derek Fisher. The team has confirmed the signing, Fisher cleared waivers at 6 p.m. Eastern. and signed minutes later.

Fisher will be in uniform for the Thunder Wednesday night against the Clippers.

Go ahead and circle March 29 on your calendar now — that is when Fisher returns to Staples Center to face the Lakers.

The Lakers traded the veteran to the Rockets at the trade deadline, a move made to clear the way in the locker room politically for the arrival of Ramon Sessions. No doubt Sessions is the better player at this point, but Fisher sitting on the bench could have created problems. The Lakers traded him to the Rockets, and Fisher gave up his entire $3.4 million player option next season to be bought out and be made a free agent.

Because Fisher wanted to win another ring (he has five as a Laker). Something he thinks could happen in Oklahoma City.

He will get minutes as the backup point guard but he’s not going to give them much — Fisher is shooting 38.3 percent this season and has a PER of 8.9. And his offense is better than his defense.

However, in the locker room he brings an unwavering confidence and an understanding of what it takes to win in the playoffs. Fisher is a calm, confident player who does not shrink from the big moments.

The Thunder are a pedestrian 5-5 in their last 10 and have looked vulnerable. This is a team that needs to be reminded of how to win in the playoffs and Fisher’s level-headed demeanor, professionalism and confidence can help. In the playoffs, when things inevitably get tough, he can be the calming, veteran voice.

This is a good pickup by the Thunder. We’ll see how much of a dividend it pays in late May and June.

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