DALLAS — It’s been nearly three months since Derek Fisher left Dallas.
The veteran point guard returns tonight when the Thunder takes on the Mavs at 6:30.
“Anytime you join a group or a team, even if it’s for a short while, there is some connection that takes place as far as teammates, coaches, people in the organization,” Fisher said. “I don’t know how happy they’ll be to see me, but I don’t have any problems with anyone here. I’m just looking forward to what should be a fun-packed game tonight.”
Fisher’s departure didn’t sit well with many in the Mavs organization, including owner Mark Cuban, who lobbed a few verbal jabs at Fisher after he joined the Thunder.
Fisher requested to be released by the Mavs and was granted that request on Dec. 22. He injured patellar tendon in his right knee and was expected to miss two weeks. Fisher said the injury, coupled with his desire to be closer to his family in California, prompted the request.
On Feb. 25, Fisher then signed with the Thunder for the remainder of this season.
“Look, I understand completely,” Cuban said sarcastically. “From the time Derek was here to his signing in OKC, his kids are older, they can deal with things better. So I understand him having more comfort in being away from them.”
Cuban continued cracking more jokes when told only 65 days had passed between Fisher’s departure from Dallas and his signing with Oklahoma City.
“A lot can happen in 65 days,” Cuban said, again sarcastically. “His kids are older now. It’s easier to fly in and out of Oklahoma City than it is Dallas. I understand that. It’s just a decision a parent has to make. Every parent has difficult decisions to make.”
Fisher, following the Thunder’s morning shoot-around session, chose to not enter the sparring session.
“I love Mark and I have a tremendous for what he’s done and does in terms of his team,” Fisher said. “I think people question his passion, but there’s no question about how passionate he is for his team. And so if it was my team…I would want as many players that I felt like could help me. I take it more as a positive thing than a negative. He saw some value that I provided and would like to still have me here. But long term, for me, I don’t have any (issues) with Mark, and hopefully one day we’ll be able to get past this and have much more things to enjoy and laugh about.”
Fisher played just nine games for the Mavs after signing with them on Nov. 29. He averaged 8.6 points and 3.4 assists in 25.4 minutes. In nine games with the Thunder, Fisher has averaged 4.9 points and 0.9 assists in 14.6 minutes.
“I don’t know if weird is the right word,” Fisher said of his return. “But for sure as I’ve said before, personally there were some struggles in terms of really feeling like I could come to work and be fully committed to the team and to the organization. That was basically what I shared. Instead of continuing to try to fight through that it would probably be best for me to return back home and spend some time with the family. And after a couple of months of being away from the game, reflecting on some things, thinking about how I wanted to finish my career, this opportunity presented itself and I took it.”