Wednesday , Jun , 23 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Fisher becomes free agent

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Derek Fisher, who has spent his entire
eight-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, opted out of his contract
Wednesday to become an unrestricted free agent.

However, he isn’t allowed to sign with anyone, including his former team,
until the middle of July.

Fisher could have earned $3 million from the Lakers in each of the next two
seasons if he didn’t opt out.

Fisher’s move became inevitable after starting point guard Gary Payton
exercised his $5.4 million option for next season. Payton, who was signed by
the Lakers last summer took Fisher’s starting backcourt position.

Fisher, who will turn 30 in August played in all 104 games for Los Angeles
this season. He averaged 7.1 points in 21.6 minutes of action in 82 regular-
season games and was a member of the Lakers’ three consecutive title teams
starting back in 1999.

Fisher perhaps will go down in Laker lore as hitting one of the most
memorable shots in playoff and team history, draining a turn around jumper at
the buzzer to lift Los Angeles to a 74-73 triumph over the Spurs in Game 5 of
the Western Conference semifinals.

The Lakers went on to capture the series, advance to the conference finals and
defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves before bowing out unceremoniously to the
Detroit Pistons in five games in the NBA Finals.