Derek Fisher cited his desire to spend more time with his family when he asked the Dallas Mavericks to release him in December, so the team's front office is annoyed that the 38-year-old point guard has resurfaced a few months later with the Oklahoma City Thunder, reports Jeff Caplan of NBA.com.
The five-time NBA champion played in only nine games for Dallas, injuring his knee in the ninth. However, when he asked the team to release him, he said that injury would take only two weeks to heal. He said the reason for his departure was to spend time with his family, noting, "being close to them remains the priority." But now, just three months later, family time has taken a backseat to basketball, as he joins the front-running Thunder for the second straight season heading toward the playoffs.
Caplan reports that Fisher never contacted the Mavericks about a possible return this season, and that the team is "agitated" over Fisher's decision. Caplan adds some interesting nuggets about why the Mavericks might feel misled by the way Fisher treated them:
... [With] 26 games left before the start of the playoffs, family concerns are no longer an issue for Fisher, who wore No. 6 for the Mavs because, as he said, he joined them on a quest for a sixth title. "This is not a pit stop," Fisher told his new Dallas teammates.
Lo and behold, he will also wear No. 6 for the Thunder. He will make his second OKC debut in as many seasons at home Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets.
Fisher had worn No. 37 with the Thunder last year, signifying his age.
Caplan also cited a Jason Whitlock column that indicated Fisher's reason for signing with the Mavs earlier in the year was so that he could retain eligibility to be president of the NBA Players' Association -- a position to which he was re-elected over the All-Star Break. Perhaps Fisher had been planning on signing with a contender all along, but needed the middling Mavs in November for political reasons.
The Mavericks are likely out of the hunt for the playoffs, 4.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets, while the Thunder are second in the Western Conference and could return to the NBA Finals. Although Fisher is a liability on defense, his shot is still there; he was hitting 43.5 percent from deep with the Mavs and worked well as a distributor, averaging 3.4 assists.
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