In politics, we have expressions like R.I.N.O. and D.I.N.O. (Republican/Democrat In Name Only). When it comes to Derek Fisher, it might be wise to add another more hoops-centric term: F.A.I.N.O.
Free Agent In Name Only.
Throughout the season, Fish made it clear he'd like to remain a Laker next season, and Wednesday afternoon the message was the same. “I’ve never mixed any statements or positions about winning, or wanting to be associated with winning championships and being on the best team in the NBA," he said. "We’ve just accomplished it again this year, and it would definitely be a great opportunity to be in a position to do it again next year with largely the same group of guys.”
Asked what the Lakers would need to do to encourage him to re-up, Fisher indicated there was no magic formula: "The best way to say it would just be, which his what I think they’ve always been about doing, is a commitment to winning. Sometimes it’s hard to quantify that and put a price on it, but in our business you have to. You have to find a way to put a price on things that sometimes you can’t quantify. I don't think there's any question about Dr. Buss and his commitment to winning, and Mitch [Kupchak] and his commitment to winning. And from that it’s just a matter of sitting down and working out details.”
It's certainly no surprise a player so steeped in intangibles would have an understanding about finding concrete value in those aspects of the game tougher to measure, but his point is certainly well taken.
Nor is he working on an island, here. Asked if he pictured Fisher as part of the roster next year, Kupchak was unequivocal. "Yes," he said. "Absolutely." Kupchak also made it clear the intention to bring Fisher back comes independent of a potential coaching change.
For more quotes from Fisher and his exit interview video, click below the jump...
...requirements on a specific length of a new contract: ”I’m not set necessarily on that. I think it depends on the circumstances and the details of how the deal would look and the position of the team, and what those needs are. I’m not chasing money, so I’m not looking at just trying to stretch out a deal artificially just to have a certain number. But at the same time, have a strong feeling about what my value is to a team. I can’t say I’m set on a number of years per se. Based on how I feel, I could sign a “forever” deal, but once we get into the particulars, I think that’ll start to take care of itself. Teams are often pretty clear about what they can do or are willing to do.”
...wanting to start: "It’s a priority, but I don’t know if I would necessarily call it a deal breaker. It just depends. But I don’t think I’d ever walk into a meeting with a general manager or a coach and hand him my decision and say I don’t want to start... Mitch knows how I feel about that. We’ve been in this position now three times, I think. From the previous two times, he knew coming into this one, regardless of what he says or what the situation is with the team, I’m never going to give that up. That’ll have to be taken from me.”
None of this constitutes a problem. So while Fisher said Wednesday he plans on answering the phone should other teams call- he feels (justifiably) it would be irresponsible towards his family not to give his due diligence- expect him to again be in purple and gold next season. I'd be fairly shocked if it didn't happen.
...on the satisfaction of once again proving doubters wrong during this postseason: "For me, it feels good to come through, I guess no matter what happened or is said or previously or in other seasons, but to be honest I don't know if I would like it any other way. Part of the reason I'm here is because of what I was told I couldn't do... That's what I've heard my whole basketball career, basically."