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For Derek Fisher, it's about a chance for another championship

Along with former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, Oklahoma City's Fisher is pursuing a sixth NBA championship ring. Ben Bolch goes coast to coast in the NBA.

March 03, 2013|By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
  • Derek Fisher waits to be stretched before an Oklahoma City Thunder game last year.
Derek Fisher waits to be stretched before an Oklahoma City Thunder game… (David Zalubowski / Associated…)

The ring's the thing

Kobe Bryant's disapproval brought a smile to the face of Derek Fisher on Friday when the newest member of the Oklahoma City Thunder was told his former teammate was miffed Fisher had become another impediment to a sixth championship ring.

Fisher is also going for his sixth ring, so let the chase commence.

"I think at this point that's what it's about," said Fisher, 38. "I think I heard him say it a couple of days ago and it's no different for me. That's why we play, to win.

"For me personally and for this team, of course we want to win a championship. But you can also feel the long-term progress and upward movement that's happening with this team and this organization, and it's fun to be a part of that as well."

Denver Coach George Karl said Fisher brings more to the Thunder than grit and the ability to hit a shot with four-tenths of a second remaining.

"My son was with the Lakers for one year and I bet you 80% of the stories have Derek Fisher in them, about how well he controls the locker room and what he does and how he helps the coach connect with players," Karl said. "All that stuff that happens in the locker room has a high level of importance on the thin line of winning a playoff series."

Center of concern

You could debate whether the Lakers were more formidable at center last season with a healthy Andrew Bynum or this season with a hobbled Dwight Howard.

But there's no disputing that the Philadelphia 76ers have emerged as the biggest losers in the four-team trade involving the game's top two big men given the latest development with Bynum's right knee.

Bynum acknowledged Friday that he may not play this season after suffering a setback in which he experienced swelling in his knee after five-on-five drills last week.

"It's getting really late," Bynum told reporters in Philadelphia. "I don't know."

What the 25-year-old does know is this: He won't come back until he's fully recovered, whenever that may be.

"I don't want to play in pain," said Bynum, who could require arthroscopic surgery to clean out loose cartilage.

New succession plan

The future of the Lakers is in, uh, interesting hands, according to the satirical online newspaper the Onion.

The outlet reported that late Lakers owner Jerry Buss left his entire fortune, including ownership of the team, to departed forward Luke Walton, now a reserve with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"Trading you was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, but I just hope you know how much I always cared about you," the Onion quoted Buss as saying in his will.

In an update, the Onion informs readers that Walton fired the entire Lakers front office, replaced Coach Mike D'Antoni with Phil Jackson and cut Howard.

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