Derek Fisher stretches before heading to the court for warmups in New Orleans. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
In less than a week, Derek Fisher went from leading the Lakers locker room to suddenly looking for work.
The Houston Rocketsofficially waived him Monday, four days after the Lakers traded Fisher and a first-round pick for Jordan Hill. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Fisher can sign with any team except for the Lakers once he clears waivers Wednesday. A statement released through his business manager Sunday evening indicated Fisher reached a buyout with the Rockets partly because "Derek's desire to win a sixth championship is what drives him and will continue to drive him as he moves forward."
In other words, Fisher didn't exactly peg the Rockets (24-22) as legitimate title contenders. In the process, the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen reported the buyout paid him for the rest of this season, but he opted out of his $3.4-million player option for next season.
Fisher was granted a release from his contract with the Utah Jazz in 2007 under different circumstances. He did so then because he wanted his family to live near specialists for his daughter Tatum, who suffered from a form of eye cancer. After finding Los Angeles facilities served his needs, Fisher then re-signed with the Lakers.
It remains to be seen what teams will pursue Fisher, whose play has been marked by declining speed and inconsistent shooting. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Fisher's wish list includes the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, but ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reports there are mixed feelings around the league toward signing the experienced veteran.
Regardless, Fisher remains more motivated to collect another ring, even if he's paid the veteran's minimum, rather than collecting $3.4 million while sitting on a non-contender's bench.