Derek Fisher confirms buyout deal with Rockets

Los Angeles Lakers' Derek Fisher in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday, March 9, 2012, in Minneapolis. The Lakers won 105-102. (AP Photo/ Jim Mone)
March 19, 2012 10:24:50 AM PDT
Derek Fisher confirmed Sunday night he has reached a buyout agreement with the Houston Rockets.

The 37-year-old point guard gave no indication of his plans for the future in a statement issued by his business manager.

The eighth-place Rockets acquired Fisher from the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, and the club was eager to put Fisher into its lineup, even planning to pick up his $3.4 million option for next season.

"Derek's desire to win a sixth championship is what drives him and will continue to drive him as he moves forward," manager Jamie Wior said in the statement.

If Fisher clears waivers in the next few days, he would become a free agent.

The Lakers traded the five-time NBA champion guard to Houston on Thursday for backup big man Jordan Hill. Los Angeles made the move partly to clear playing time for Ramon Sessions, acquired earlier in the day from Cleveland, but also to avoid paying significant salaries to three point guards.

Although Fisher's contributions have declined in recent years, the trade upset the Lakers' veterans -- including Kobe Bryant, who considered Fisher an invaluable ingredient in the team's chemistry. Bryant and Fisher were teammates for 13 of their 16 NBA seasons, serving as co-captains this season.

Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum all said they spoke to Fisher over the previous three days since the Lakers traded him.

"I know it's hard to go through what he's going through," said Gasol, the subject of innumerable trade rumors himself. "We'll see what ends up happening with him, but I'm not sure what he wants to do."

Bryant said he had discussed the future with Fisher, but declined to share Fisher's plans.

Fisher had played in 537 consecutive NBA games and had made 371 straight starts over the past five seasons for the Lakers, but the NBA players' union leader was averaging just 5.9 points -- his lowest average in 13 years -- and 3.3 assists this season.

Sessions has injected quickness and ball-penetration skills into the Lakers in just two games. He had 10 points and six assists off the bench in the Lakers' 103-99 loss to Utah on Sunday night.

Backup Steve Blake took Fisher's starting spot, but the veteran hasn't scored a point in his first two starts.


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