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He signs reported three-year deal for $14 Million
The Lakers have gone to their past in hopes that it will help solidify their immediate future in the backcourt.
Point guard Derek Fisher, who played an integral role on the Lakers' three-peat team earlier this decade, has agreed in principle to a three-year contract. The deal is worth roughly $14 million.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was non-committal about Fisher's return to the team.
"That position has been something that we identified as an area where we felt we needed to improve," Kupchak said. "Not a slight to Jordan [Farmar] and our drafted rookie [Javaris Crittenton], who's just 19 years old, but at 19 and 20 years old with limited NBA experience, we're not going to think that they're going to be the ones that can lead the team next year.
"Having said that, without naming players that are out there, when we have additional information and we have an announcement, we'll make that announcement. Right now, we're not in that position, but we're getting close."
Fisher was drafted by the Lakers with the 24th pick in 1996, the same draft in which the team acquired Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets in a draft-day trade. He played the first eight seasons of his career in Los Angeles before signing a six-year, $37-million free-agent contract with Golden State. After two seasons with the Warriors, Fisher was traded to the Utah Jazz, where he played last season.
He played a key role in the Jazz's run to the Western Conference finals last season, but he asked out of his contract with Utah two weeks ago. He was seeking to move to a city with more appropriate medical care for his 1-year-old daughter, Tatum, who has a rare form of eye cancer.
Fisher, 32, must clear waivers after the Jazz files paperwork to terminate his contract, a process that likely won't be completed until next week.
Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's senior vice president of basketball operations, was positive about Fisher's departure.
"We wish him the best, and I hope four games a year he doesn't play well against us," O'Connor told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Reports are that the first year of Fisher's proposed deal with the Lakers would pay him a little more than $4 million. That leaves Los Angeles with a little more than $1 million left from their $5.3 million mid-level exception to sign another free agent. The Lakers still have the veterans' exception of $1.3 million.
Fisher is keenly familiar with the Lakers' triangle offense and, according to reports, will likely step into the starting lineup. He'll also be expected to help Farmar, Crittenton and the rest of the team's young guards develop.
Finally, Fisher could help ease the sometimes tense relationship between Bryant and coach Phil Jackson. Bryant has fumed this offseason about the team's direction and at one point demanded a trade. Bryant did not say if Fisher's return would guarantee his own return to L.A. next season.
"I'm not getting into my situation," Bryant said Wednesday at a Nike promotional event. "I'm just not going to go there."