Let this be a lesson for Dallas' front office: Don’t sign any more members of the Lakers squad the Mavericks swept during the glorious summer of 2011.
Derek Fisher made his Dallas departure with much more dignity and a lot less drama than Lamar Odom did last season, but there are some similarities to the ex-Lakers’ abbreviated stints with the Mavericks. They never fully committed to the Mavs, paying lip service to their temporary franchise but leaving their hearts in Los Angeles.
The Lam Lam charade lasted most of the season, with all sorts of twists and turns and terrible performances. Fisher had already booked his flight home by the time there was any public hint that he wasn’t fully on board in Dallas, and he had actually played pretty well by 38-year-old point guard standards during his nine games with the Mavs.
At least Fisher was apparently up front with the front office, warning them that he might decide at any point that he’d rather spend time with his family than be the Mavs’ starting point guard. Of course, the NBA players’ association president was in full politician mode when he joined the Mavs, preaching about being here for the long haul and building relationships with his new teammates.
“I told the guys today, this is not a pit stop,” Fisher said the day he arrived in Dallas. “This is not kind of the final whatever before I decide to retire soon. I’m here to give everything I have to help this team right now and continue to build as we go through this season.”
Pffft. In hindsight, that’s about as believable as the “flu” that caused Rick Carlisle to think Fisher was unavailable for Tuesday’s game against the 76ers, when Fisher surprised folks by showing up and starting. He played for five minutes before suffering a knee injury that would have sidelined him for a couple of weeks, offering a convenient excuse to call it quits.
It’s about as believable as the “personal issues” that prompted Odom to take a 10-day sabbatical in the middle of last season, not too long before Mark Cuban finally had his fill and kicked Khloe’s little Lam Lam off the team.
Perhaps the premature exits for the ex-Lakers are fitting. After all, the most embarrassing day while wearing purple and gold had to be sending Phil Jackson into retirement with a broom-swinging blowout at the American Airlines Center.