According to multiple reports, former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher will sign a rest-of-the-season deal with the NBA Western Conference front-runner Oklahoma City Thunder once he officially clears league waivers.
Fisher is set to clear waivers at 5 PM Central Standard time, and is reportedly in Oklahoma City in anticipation of joining the club as soon as possible.
After being traded to the Houston Rockets who subsequently bought out his remaining contract with the Lakers, Fisher drew interest from several teams interested in the veteran leadership which he could bring to the table for a playoff run.
Other than the Thunder, the Miami Heat were the strongest suitor for Fisher’s services, but could not match the close to $3 million that Oklahoma City will offer Fisher. This $3 million remained under the team’s mid-level exception option for the strike-shortened 2012 season.
Derek Fisher will bring strong leadership and unparalleled playoff experience to a Thunder locker room which needs both. The combination of Fisher’s leadership and the youthful exuberance of stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could be enough to lead OKC over the hump in the Western Conference playoffs and on to the franchise’s first NBA Finals.
Veteran leadership is an intangible which is often overlooked by teams who believe they have enough pure talent to win games when those wins matter the most.
Almost every team which has won an NBA championship in recent years has bolstered a strong core with veteran leaders who know how to do the little things which all too often mean the difference between a win and a loss in tough situations.
Derek Fisher is one of these guys.