Never forget that professional basketball is business first and foremost. Sometimes we, as fans, get trapped into thinking what we see on the court is the only part of the game that matters. The NBA lockout reminded everyone of the business nature of pro hoops and now the Los Angeles Lakers have exercised that same business acumen in cutting ties with Derek Fisher.
Whether or not Jim Buss is truly out to cleanse all connections to Phil Jackson is yet to be truthfully revealed. Today’s trades certainly feel like a complete eradication of all remaining players connected with the triangle offense. How Kobe Bryant will react to losing his longtime partner in crime will be known in the near future. He’s no doubt unhappy but his opinion cannot be the guiding force of the franchise.
But all that talk means little in comparison to what had to be done. The Lakers needed to get younger and more athletic in the backcourt. In order to do so Fisher had to go.
Make no mistake Fisher’s locker room intangibles are irreplaceable. His void cannot be filled by the quicks of Ramon Sessions or the dunks of Jordan Hill. The man voted by his fellow players to represent their wishes with the union is recognized as one of the great leaders currently in the game.
Combine Fisher’s character with his many memorable moments as a Laker and you’ve got yourself a full fledged legend. Years from now Lakers faithful will talk of Fisher in glowing terms some even arguing that no other man should be allowed to wear #2 in purple and gold.
But all of his credentials off the court plus his storied resume cannot be substituted for what his game was lacking on the court. Fisher had become a liability, only around to help steady the ship and make that occasional clutch shot.
Not to diminish his importance both in the clutch and the locker room. Both are areas in which every NBA team would value his services. But enough was enough.
We’d all seen enough of Fisher being abused by any and every point guard he was tasked with defending. We’ve all openly complained about the Lakers desperate need to upgrade at point guard.
Sessions is no Chris Paul but the he’s so head and shoulders above Fisher says it all.
This trade was not the easiest move to make. There will be some blowback and perhaps some dissension in the locker room. All of that comes with a team in transition such as the Lakers. The triangle offense isn’t around to mask Fisher’s shortcomings. Same for Luke Walton which is why he too is not in Mike Brown’s plans.
Divorcing Derek Fisher was never going to be easy for the Lakers. He’s an icon in his own right and a lifelong Laker no matter what jersey he wears. But this was a move long overdue.
D-Fish is a true pro that keeps him self in condition year round. With another year left on his contract there was a 100% chance he’d be back and an equal chance we’d have the same complaints about the point guard position again.
When it comes to business there is nothing but the bottom line. The bottom line is that what Fisher brought to the team was no longer worth the price tag. He’s held down his job far beyond his expiration date, a truly impressive feat. His leadership qualities will most definitely be missed. All that said there is no room in the pro basketball for scholarship athletes. Fisher was on scholarship so long in L.A. that he was working on his PhD.