Tuesday , Jul , 03 , 2007 Oly Sandor

When Appropriate, Derek Fisher Could Return To L.A. Lakers

The health of Derek Fisher’s daughter is priority number one … However, the veteran didn’t retire and wants to play in a city where his daughter will have access to cancer specialists … How about a return to the purple-and-gold? … Click here for news and analysis …

The Los Angeles Times reports that Derek Fisher could end up in Los Angeles:

Derek Fisher has been released from his contract with the Utah Jazz to focus on finding medical care for his infant daughter, who has a rare form of cancer in one of her eyes.

Fisher, who will be 33 next month, has considered half a dozen cities, including Los Angeles, as possible places to move. He did not rule out retiring.

He had three years and about $21 million left on his contract, but his daughter, Tatum, had been occupying most of his thoughts. She was diagnosed this year with a cancerous tumor that could spread from her left eye to her brain or the rest of her body.

"Life for me outweighs the game of basketball," Fisher said Monday in Salt Lake City.

Fisher spent eight seasons with the Lakers after being drafted in 1996. He left as a free agent in 2004 and was traded from Golden State to Utah before last season, when he averaged 10.1 points and 3.3 assists.

The Lakers are seeking a veteran ballhandling guard and could offer him up to approximately $5 million for next season, if he chooses not to retire.

"We’re going to have an open mind," said Fisher’s agent, Mark Bartelstein.

My Quick Take: I have mixed feelings reporting on the basketball side of this story. The well-being of Fisher’s daughter is what’s important.

All parties involved in yesterday’s press conference acknowledged that Fisher could play for another team next season. 

Larry Miller, Utah‘s owner, discussed this possibility.

"It’s unlikely that he’s going to re-sign for what he’s walking away from," Miller said, "and he knows that."

Fisher didn’t shut the door on playing, either.

"I do still love to play basketball. I would enjoy still playing the game. But there are lot of things to consider going forward that will determine when and where that will be.”

Fisher’s representative, Mark Bartelstein, commented on his client possibly ending up with . 

"It’s certainly something we’d look at, but I think we have to take some time to digest everything that’s happened."

L.A. makes the most sense. Fisher’s daughter would have access to specialists. D-Fish and the Lakers spent eight years together, so a comfort level exists between the player and organization.   

Fisher would be an asset. His professionalism and life-experience would stabilize the fractured purple-and-gold. Look at how Fisher helped Utah move forward last season.

The veteran could start at the one-spot or back-up both guard positions. Fisher’s a solid ballhandler, defender, and three-point shooter. And L.A. has the cap space to sign him.

Of course, Fisher’s right-family comes first. There will be a market for his services, whenever he decides to return. The Lakers just seem like a natural fit.

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