No Matter the Reasons, Losing Derek Fisher is Difficult to Accept

No Matter the Reasons, Losing Derek Fisher is Difficult to Accept


Sometimes the reality of a situation takes a little while to fully sink in. Your brain may process the information and comprehend it, but your heart isn’t capable of accepting it. The information that your brain is trying to convince you is fact is being refuted by your heart.

Ironically, the Lakers have refuted their own heart.

When the team let Derek Fisher go on Thursday for nothing more than a convenience, part of their soul went with him.

It has truly been a changing of the guard for the Lakers over these past few months. The remnants of the old republic have been swept away, leaving only a few, hardened soldiers left to pick up the pieces and lead the newcomers forward.

The departure of Derek Fisher signifies so much more than the loss of 5.9 points and 3.3 assists per game. To many people Fisher has become another punchline. An easy target for jokes about old age and declining productivity.

But to others Fisher represents the last piece of a puzzle long since taken apart. He was that key cornerstone piece. The one that sits on the border of the puzzle and almost acts like two separate pieces. The entire integrity of that puzzle relies on that corner piece.

As an anchor. A foundation that you work around.

The Lakers have finally parted ways with their faithful corner piece. And, as so commonly happens in the cutthroat business of professional sports, he was discarded as quickly as a child putting his puzzle away, unceremoniously dumping them back into the box.

When it comes to pure logic, the move makes some sense. After acquiring Ramon Sessions from the Cavaliers the team found themselves with a logjam at the point guard position. Once their attempt to solve this situation by sending Steve Blake to Portland fell apart, they were left scrambling with few options.

So they did what they had to do.

Unfortunately, in times like these it’s hard to accept this as reality. It’s so much easier to simply deny it, trying to convince yourself you’ll wake up the next morning and it’s all been a bad dream.

This is no dream. It’s a cold splash of reality right in the face.

Houston Rockets’ point guard, Derek Fisher.

It sounds blasphemous to say. In fact, even typing it for the first time seemed wrong. Fisher has been one of the biggest parts of this organization since being drafted back in 1996. Sure, he spent a few years flirting with other suitors. But he came back. And when he did, it felt so right.

But all good things must come to an end. And this seems to be what we have here. The end.

During his press conference on Thursday afternoon, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was asked about the possibility of Fisher ever returning to the Lakers.

His response? Candid, to say the least. It’s not happening.

Fisher is 37 years old. His best days are long behind him. Despite his unbelievable conditioning, it’s safe to say that almost every game you get out of Fisher these days is a blessing. It’s obvious that the front office understood this. They wouldn’t have made the move if they didn’t.

But at what cost? What are the Lakers really giving up besides those six points and three assists?

They’re giving up their heart.

Fisher has been the glue for this team through some sticky situations. For all the nonsense about Kobe Bryant’s inability to win without Shaquille O’Neal, remember that Bryant still hasn’t won without Fisher.

For Bryant, Fisher was his portal to reality. He was the weight tightened securely around his ankles, keeping him grounded. Fisher was who Bryant would listen to. And if you don’t think that’s important, remember that Bryant hardly even listens to his coaches.

There have been rumblings about Bryant’s feelings towards the trade. With the zookeeper on the way to Houston, who’s going to be there to put the venomous snake back in his cage when he steps out of line? Who’s going to be the one to step up to Bryant and actually be acknowledged? It better be somebody.

This is the area where the business becomes so sticky. The way Fisher is leaving feels so wrong. It feels so cheap and violating. It’s an unfulfilled sense of emotion that is impossible to quench. The feeling in your stomach that is so intense it wipes away your appetite.

Fisher has been there for his team more times than any of us can count. He’s been the player who makes the big plays on the court and keeps heads cool off of it. And now it’s over.

I have little doubt that Fisher will be remembered as an all-time Laker legend. He has as many championships with the team as Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And he was crucial in every one of those runs.

So while we may be forced to wish farewell to Fisher in this rushed, barbaric ritual, we certainly don’t have to like it. Slowly things will get better. The team will move on and so will Fisher. But it will take a long time for us to accept the way this happened, even if logically we’re told it makes sense.

There will never be a day when we think of any other team when someone mentions Derek Fisher.

Derek Fisher is the Lakers.

Derek Fisher is their heart.

  • zxrated

    Nice, I lost tons of respect for our FO yesterday

  • Anthony Keene

    Amazingly well written. Speaking as a life-long Laker fan, thank you for sharing how we all feel. Yesterday I was not proud to bleed Purple & Gold.

  • Chucho Cruz

    some may forget that Fish left a couple years back and went to Utah. he only came back when his daughter needed treatment that doctors in LA or NY could provide. my point is this is a business, and with Fish at the point we have NO chance of winning another championship, cuz his best days are well behind him. yes, he can sometimes hit an open jumper, but could not guard a single one of the elite PGs in the league. we will remember his time in LA, but we need to move on if we really want to be Champs again, this year!

    • Double_r88

       Have you ever played ball on a high level, probably not, which means you dont know what a player like Fisher means in practices, locker room, games.  Of course his production is down age has caught up to him.  But you cant replace experience, knowledge and he has been in the big games.  He could have been a good leader coming off of the bench due to production and help a guy like sessions get adjusted to playing along Kobe and the rest of the team.  Kobe is a professional but keep in mind the time Fisher spent away from the Lakers they couldn’t get it done.  There should be a rule that if you truly understand the game, have played the game at a high level should you be allowed to post your opinion.  Of course every Lakers fan wants the team to win championships. 

    • Retta82003


  • steven

    I agree I was both sad and shocked when I was listening to the radio expecting a blake for beasley trade, and fisher was gone. But Mitch made our team better, deeper, younger, and less expensive. Props to Mitch for doing what is best for the team and its fans. He is a genius/wizard, i have no idea how he coerces teams into taking zero value players like fisher, walton, and kapono off our hands

    • Retta82003


  • Not Impressed

    Lmao, this is just a poorly written Rip Off of Bill Plashke’s article from last night.

  • DC

    This move made sense from a basketball standpoint.  Fish is at the twilight of his career and it seems that the end is near.  I see him in the offseason signing a one-day contract with the Lakers and announcing his retirement…hopefully to take up a coaching position.

    And then, #2 will be raised to the rafters alongside Magic, Kareem, Wilt, Worthy, & the other greats.

    • Kyle March

      I truly hope so I’ve been saying this for a few years now… Fisher paid his dues and is as much a laker as most of those guys already up there.

  • Double_r88

    Well written, Fisher is the HEART of the franchise.  We can all admit he was never the star player or piece to the puzzle but he did his part and did it better than anyone else could have.  Fisher deserves more respect from the organization, they can say all they want about it being a business blah blah blah….Fisher deserved to retire a Lakers have his jersey raised to the rafters along side Kobe.  Every great player has his sidekick!  I am a die hard Lakers fan but after 12:00 pm pacific time 3/15/12 I lost all respect for the front office.  I have never ever liked mitch and now I despise him.  There were options like darius morris we all know the Lakers arent interested in developing the rookie point guard as soon as the opportunity presents it self AGAIN(he should have been the one sent to houston) he is gone.  “.04 left on the clock ball out of bounds, pass to Fisher he shoots,  scores!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  To me that is the greatest shot ever.

    • Retta82003

      I agree with you. I have lost all respect for NBA Association . They are trying to dismantle the Lakers. They removed the glue that held them together on many issues. And yes that .04 left on the clock , where Fisher shot and won the game was my favorite. I think I have a T-shirt in a few colors with that on it. And oh yeah I never liked mitch either or the new coach he is pulling the Lakers down also

  • Treasure Keith

    Exactly..well said.

  • Stony18

    He wasn’t doing noting for the lakers man .

    • Retta82003


  • George Contreras

    Daniel Buerge You Couldn’t Have Said This Any Better,
     Dude You Brought Tears 2 My Eyes

  • myhoneyclaire

    every single word is so true. 
    i cant associate golden state or utah with dfish. 
    whenever anyone mentions his name, i had, i am, and i always will think of the lakers first. 

  • Retta82003

    They should of let Fisher finish this season. He should of retired a Laker. It was so wrong the way this was done.

  • Gordon Blu

    Jim Buss Is F*cking up!!!! Guess I’ll tune out like i did during those Nick Van Excel, Cedric Ceballos, Elden Cambell years until Daddy Buss finds someone credible to run my squad. Until the Next Dynasty; thanx Phil, Shaq & D Fish & the Black Mamba for another great run.

  • Charddickwall

    I think to say that I have lost respect for the FO or the Lakers would be putting it harshly.  But I am truly sad that it had to come to this.  My only hope is that they had the smarts to tell the team this was a possiblity before it happened because it is moves like this that can come back to bite you when a team starts coming apart.  Just look at what happened to the Celtics and Rando last year.

  • D.lakersnation

    this article is amazingly well written. i was at work,yesterday having a huge stress. i was depress ..(i cant even explain how stress(work) and depress i was) when i heard that d.fisher is GONE to another team. it really pains that my fav. player is out AGAIN. but this article just made my mind CLEAR . and NOW we all have to say THANK YOU FISHER for everything … especially with a great sesion you put up since the beginning !!! LAKERS NATION will always remember you . its hard to say farewell .i have to say SOO.

  • TheJis

    Fisher should retire, and become the coach of the Lakers

  • Ma59

    This article just brought tears to my eyes… no matter what Fish did not deserve this… he was always there for the Lakers…even though he did not score much, he did answered when needed the most… Im at lost words… we LAKERS FANS are sure gonna miss you lots… so long,, and thank you for the many years…

  • Bernard Tilley

    If the Lakers win the championship this year I think they should give Fish a ring as well. He would certainly deserve it!

  • Bernard Tilley

    This was a well put together article, it explains exactly how majority of Lakers fans feel I’m sure. This one hurts almost as much as when we first heard Magic had H.I.V. and had to retire.

  • truth

    the first rockets @ lakers game, the crowd should chant FISHER, out of respect.

  • Bigg Wen

    I feel that trade was wrong.

  • KrysWithaK

    I long for the day when Derek retires and returns to us as Coach Fisher. I’m SO looking forward to it.

  • Blue

    he should have retired after the 2010 season yet he insisted on a 3-yr contract when it was obvious even back then that he has nothing left in the tank..and fyi, he left in 2004 to sign for more money than the lakers was offering