Former Laker Derek Fisher directs the offense while playing point guard… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Derek Fisher was back at Staples Center, talking to reporters near the unfamiliar surroundings of the visitors' locker room.
Exactly two weeks had passed since he was traded to Houston in a salary dump for seldom-used forward Jordan Hill, but Fisher didn't crucify the Lakers' front office.
He offered only a mild rebuke for management's failure to tell him he had been traded.
Fisher played almost 13 years for the Lakers. He negotiated a buyout with Houston last week and immediately joined Oklahoma City after being waived by the Rockets.
"Initially, it was more shock than just pure disappointment," he said of the trade. "I've always thought that there were different ways to handle trade and waiver-type situations where there can be some more communication, not necessarily far in advance, but enough to not have to find out from the mailman or at the post office that you've been traded. And I'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but I did wake up and I was traded."
The Lakers also sent Houston the first-round pick they acquired in the Lamar Odom trade in December. They were that serious about getting Fisher's salary next season ($3.4 million) off their books after acquiring Ramon Sessions earlier the same day.
Fisher said the trade had "strange circumstances" but also said "it was fair for them to do what they did."
He declined to specify whatever leadership vacuum might exist in the Lakers' locker room now that the 16-year veteran is gone.
"I'm obviously close with everybody that's still in there and it would be a disservice to them for me to start speaking from the outside looking in," he said.
He was averaging 3.8 points and shooting 22.7% in four games with the Thunder before playing the Lakers on Thursday.
Oklahoma City Coach Scott Brooks scoured the large group of reporters waiting for him before the game and said he would start Fisher against his old team. Then he paused. He was joking.
Fisher came off the bench to a predictably warm ovation near the end of the first quarter. He had seven points in almost 16 minutes as the Thunder won Thursday, 102-93.
Lakers fans didn't see him in his familiar No. 2 jersey. He switched to No. 37 after joining Oklahoma City, a not-so-subtle reference to his age.
"Regardless of what I had been able to do, or help my teams do in the past, that number seemed to be the number that trumped anything," Fisher said. "That number always came first before my name, so I figured I'd just go ahead and put it out there for everybody to continue to use first."
He had kind words for his time in Los Angeles, saying it "far exceeds anything I could have imagined when I first moved here in 1996. I'm extremely thankful for everything."