Seventy-five minutes before Thursday night's game between the Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers, former LA point guard Derek Fisher for the first time fielded questions about being traded from the Lakers to the Houston Rockets the morning of the March 15 trade deadline.
Fisher was bought out by the Rockets and signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Thunder on March 21.
A group of 50 media members packed in five rows deep in a semi-circle across the hall from the visitor's locker room as Fisher spoke for 7½ minutes. Here are some of the more prevalent answers Fisher gave:
*“I know there have been a lot of statements made, including mine, about what I thought I knew about the situation, whether I knew I was going to get traded, how I was going to feel about it, what my role would have been had I still been on the team. I'm in a good place right now. Initially, it was more shock than just pure disappointment.”
*“I've always thought there are different ways to handle trades and waiver-type situations where there can be some more communication, not necessarily far in advance, but enough not to have to find out from the mailman or at the post office that you've been traded. And I'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but I did wake up and I was traded. That's the part that shocks you more than anything.”
*“You realize that it's a part of the business, and every guy in this league has to deal with those things. So from that standpoint, I've been good with it and I find myself in an extremely special situation in terms of the team of guys I'm playing with now, and the coaches, and the front office is just the right fit for me at the right time.”
*(On supposedly not being able to accept a lesser role had he stayed with the Lakers): “It goes against and it flies in the face of not just what I've been since I've been in the NBA, but the type of team player I've been in every group I've ever been a part of. Team sports raised me in a sense. My mom and dad and my family, I was raised on team sports and that meant and has always stood for sharing and sacrificing and giving of yourself so that the group can succeed. That's what I'm explicitly focused on doing for the Thunder right now and I'm looking forward to finishing out this regular season and really trying to help a team that was great before I even showed up.”
*“It's a game. I play for the other team now.”
Just before the opening tip, a video tribute honoring Fisher was shown on the massive octagonal scoreboard inside Staples Center.