Former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher is set to make his debut with the Oklahoma… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
This post has been updated. See below for details.
The chase for Derek Fisher to acquire his sixth NBA title before Kobe Bryant officially begins.
Fisher will play his first game with the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday against the Clippers after clearing waivers at 3 PDT Wednesday. He signed with the Thunder just two days after agreeing to a buyout with the Houston Rockets, who acquired him from the Lakers for Jordan Hill.
After acquiring Ramon Sessions from Cleveland in a special trade, the Lakers expressed concern on how Fisher would handle a reserve role. But that's exactly what he will do with the Thunder where he will backup All-Star guard and former UCLA standout Russell Westbrook. Though Fisher has averaged 5.9 points on 38.3% shooting and struggles in defending quick guards, the Thunder hope his leadership and playoff experience will complement well with the youthful roster.
"We are excited to add Derek to the Thunder and believe his experience and abilities will make a positive impact with our team," Oklahoma City General Manager Sam Presti said in a statement. "He is someone that will enhance our roster’s current and future development on and off the floor through his knowledge, professionalism and approach to the game."
Fisher, who won all five of his NBA championships with the Lakers, hasn't yet publicly commented since last week's trade. But his publicist indicated in a statement that Fisher reached a buyout agreement with Houston partly because "Derek's desire to win a sixth championship is what drives him."
[UPDATED at 4:17 p.m., March 21: Fisher released a statement Wednesday afternoon hours before his first game with the Thunder:
"I am extremely honored to announce that I will join the Oklahoma City Thunder in pursuit of the 2011-2012 Championship. What these players, coaches and front office have created is special. My representatives and I had conversations and offers from several teams, however, this just feels right and this is a choice I am confident in.
"I will earn my spot on this team and do whatever my teammates need me to do to get us to a championship. I will also lead to the best of my ability whether from the bench, in the locker room or on the court.
"Thank you to my fans, friends and family that have reached out. While I am surprised by recent events, I look forward to contributing to the Thunder and continuing to play the game I love so much and have fought so hard to bring back.
"To Kobe, Pau, Andrew, Matt, Steve, Devin, Darius, Josh, Drew, Troy, Metta, Luke, and Jason, and all my teammates in Los Angeles through the years, thank you for your friendship, for the camaraderie, for pushing me each and every day to achieve greatness and letting me lead you the best way I knew how. You each have a lifelong friend and supporter in me.
"Los Angeles will always have a place in my heart, it will remain a home to my family and my businesses, but basketball will be played elsewhere and I look forward to seeing everyone on the court...even if it is in a different uniform."]
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