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.
Accompanied with the words “THANKS FISH,” highlights were shown of Fisher's big-shot moments in the playoffs, plus a clip of imporing teammates in a huddle.
When the footage was over, the words “THANKS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE FISH.”
The sellout crowd stood and applauded during the video and roared even louder when Fisher was shown standing in front of the Thunder bench. Fisher waved and applauded in return.
Before the rest of the team arrived at Santa Monica High School for Thursday morning's shootaround session, reserve guard Daequan Cook did some shooting and defensive slide drills wearing a brace on his right knee.
When the drill session was over and his teammates entered the gym, Cook flashed a huge smile as he took off the brace.
Sticking with the original prognosis, Cook is at least one week away from returning.
Outside the gym, Eric Maynor slowly walked up and down stairs and a ramp, and also got down into defensive positions. Maynor is lost for the season with a knee injury but stopped walking with a limp several weeks ago.
With 4:44 left in the first quarter, Kendrick Perkins was whistled for his 12th technical foul of the season when he pivoted with his elbow flared after being fouled by Pau Gasol. If Perkins' technical foul is not rescinded, he will be one away from earning a one-game suspension.
Late in the third quarter, Kevin Durant was whistled for his fourth technical foul of the season for what appeared to be a clean block on an Andrew Bynum shot.
Official Dan Crawford called both technicals.
The Thunder flew home after Thursday's game and will take Friday off before preparing for its game against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday at noon at Chesapeake Energy Arena. OKC then hosts Memphis on Monday at 7 p.m.
A few minutes after Fisher addressed the media, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “I was just talking to another general manager, and he thought getting the ball handling guard that we got (Ramon Sessions) was a good move that was going to help us in the future. My immediate response was it was a high price to pay, which was the case. But those are tough decisions that management has to make and we're hopeful it will work out down the road.”