It's been nearly three months since Derek Fisher left Dallas.
The veteran point guard returned Sunday when the Thunder took on the Mavs.
“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 before the game. “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.”
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 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 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 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 prior to Sunday's game, Fisher had averaged 4.9 points and 0.9 assists in 14.6 minutes.
DURANT RESPECTS NOWITZKI
Kevin Durant said Sunday that Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki has moved into a select list of players for which he reserves the utmost respect.
“Dirk's a guy I always watch film on and always enjoy watching him play,” Durant said. “He's one of those handful of guys I'd pay to go see. It's an honor playing against him, especially winding down in his career.”
Durant has mimicked Nowitzki's one-legged fadeaway jump shot among other tricks and said the regular meetings between the two have enhanced his appreciate for the future Hall of Famer.
“I've learned a lot from just watching Dirk and how he handles himself and the type of player he's grown into,” Durant said. “Playing against him in the playoffs these last few years, I really got a newfound respect for his hard work and his versatility and how easy he makes it. And just his poise, he's always calm and cool and makes the big shots. He takes his team over the top so that's what I try to do here. I try to be efficient as well and just try to be a great teammate.”
THABEET SITS AGAIN
Reserve center Hasheem Thabeet missed his second consecutive game Sunday while nursing a sore back.
Thabeet said he hopes to be healed and back in the lineup for Tuesday's game against Denver.
The injury occurred following a workout last Thursday, Thabeet said.
“It's tight,” Thabeet said. “Almost like spasms.”
DirecTV did not show the first half of Sunday's game against Dallas and carried the Mavericks' feed on Fox Sports Southwest in the second half after learning of the programming glitch.
According to the DirecTV programming guide, the game was not scheduled to air on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
“It was a technical error,” said Fox Sports Oklahoma spokesman Ramon Alvarez. “We are working with DirecTV to identify the source of the problem.”