Who saw this one coming?
Prior to the NBA trade deadline the Lakers acquired point guard Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The move gave L.A. three men at the point on the roster. Clearly somebody had to go.
Most of the speculation was that Steve Blake would be moved to make room for Sessions. After all, there has been plenty of talk about a Michael Beasley deal which Blake was said to be part of. But trading Derek Fisher was never even thought to be an option.
To the surprise of all, perhaps Fisher most of all, the Lakers continued their deadline dealings by trading D-Fish and a first round pick to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill.
Fisher’s contract wasn’t such a huge burden that losing it opens the checkbook for Jerry Buss. Fisher was making $3-million this year but did have a player option he was likely to exercise for next season. Cleary the Lakers are looking to get younger and cheaper.
Let’s not oversell this move. Losing Fisher is a blow only in his importance in the locker room. That he’s held his starting job for this long is both impressive and confusing. D-Fish gets all the credit for being one of the best conditioned athletes in the game. He also gets a lot of grief for being unable to defend any of the league’s quicker guards and for being largely invisible on the court.
No need to recount all of Fisher’s contributions over the years. If you’re reading this blog then you’re already knowing about the man’s Laker legacy. His clutch nature was about all Fisher could hang his hat on in recent years. Never afraid to take a big shot even with one KB24 on the court at the same time was part of what made Derek such a dynamic player during his five championship seasons in Los Angeles.
Going forward it will be very interesting to see how Mike Brown hands out minutes between Sessions and Blake. To be sure both men will be much more productive than Fisher but they won’t nearly be the same leader he was. Come to think of it few men who play this game will ever have the respect Fisher gets around the league.
For Fisher this isn’t the first time he’s left Los Angeles. However unlike his brief stops at Golden State and Utah this time around he didn’t leave on his own terms.
As for Jordan Hill, he gives the Lakers an athletic and active body off the bench. The former Arizona Wildcat has never lived up to his first round draft status but if utilized in the right way he could be an asset. Think of Hill as a homeless man’s Tyson Chandler it you will.
While this move was surprising in its nature it doesn’t come as a complete shock. Given the way the franchise has sought to make massive changes once Phil Jackson departed about the only two men than have any true job security are Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum.