The only problem that was believed to be standing in the way of their reunion was a new CBA rule that doesn’t allow teams to re-sign players that they’ve traded away until a year after the original transaction’s date.
That, however, no longer appears to be the case after ESPN’s Marc Stein provided some clarity on Tuesday.
“Sources briefed on the discussions told ESPN.com on Monday that Fisher has, indeed, been verified by the league office as eligible to re-sign with the Lakers since July 1, which runs counter to the widely held assumption that Fisher had to wait at least one year from the date that the Lakers dealt him to Houston in March before a reunion with Kobe Bryant would be permissible.”
The confusion occurred because it was believed that he had exercised his 2012-2013 option with the Houston Rockets prior to being bought out. He was, however, bought out before the option was picked up, which effectively brought an end to his contract on June 30 and made him an unrestricted free agent.
The Lakers would have had to wait until March 15, 2013, to be able to add Fisher to the roster. With this latest development, though, the wily veteran could be back in purple and gold as soon as the two parties come to an agreement. According to Stein, that could soon be the case.
“He might ultimately decide to jump on the next palatable offer that presents itself, but I’m told that both Fisher and the Lakers have a level of interest in reuniting down the road if the circumstances are right, suggesting that the tension stemming from L.A.’s decision to discard the 38-year-old is fading.”
Word on the street is that the Lakers are looking to trade one of their two veteran backup point guards – Steve Blake or Chris Duhon – who both command sizeable salaries. Trading one or the other would create some space in the Lakers’ crowded backcourt and lessen the impact of the impending luxury tax. If a trade goes down, the situation could be ideal for a Fisher return.
Even if Fisher does make a return to the Lakers, there are several other things that need to happen. The L.A. front office, however, proved this offseason that they get what they want. If Fisher is really what they want, it shouldn’t be too long before rumors become a reality.
At this point, only time will tell.