The real question here is why should they?
Still, we should report that our understanding of the situation has changed. According to a report last week, we said that even if they wanted to the Lakers could not re-sign point guard Derek Fisher until March, the one-year anniversary of when he was waived.
But the reality is the Lakers could sign him tomorrow if they wanted, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
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 NBA’s new labor agreement stipulates that a player traded and then waived by the team that acquired him can’t re-sign with his original team for one year or until the traded contract runs out — whichever comes first. But in Fisher’s case, confusion surrounding his player option for the 2012-13 season led to the belief in some league circles that he had picked up the option before the Houston Rockets bought him out. In reality, sources confirm, Fisher was bought out by Houston before he was eligible to invoke the 2012-13 option, which means that his contract was deemed to have ended June 30, sending Fisher to full-fledged free agency on July 1.
Got all that?
Bottom line, the Lakers could re-sign Fisher if he is still on the market and they trade Chris Duhon or Steve Blake. And they are reportedly willing to listen to offers for those two.
Here again is the problem — Fisher really isn’t good anymore (regular season PER of 5.9 that jumped up to a terrible 10.4 in the playoffs). He’s a defensive liability who doesn’t shoot as well as he used to. The Lakers are in this to win it and they need a backup point guard who can soak up 20 minutes a night, allowing coach Steve Nash to rest his back. Blake or Duhon would be better at that than Fisher.
And for the Lakers fans telling me (usually on twitter) about Fisher’s leadership — why do they need that? This isn’t a young team. If you wanted to say that about OKC last year it’s at least a debate. But the Lakers already have Kobe Bryant, Nash, Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison and plenty of veterans and guys with rings. They don’t need more leadership, they need guys who can play.
But it’s something to watch.