Thursday, March 15, 2012
Sources: Lakers trade Derek Fisher
By Brian Kamenetzky
Wow. Didn't see this one coming.
The Lakers have traded Derek Fisher to Houston for forward Jordan Hill. In addition, they will send the pick acquired from Dallas in the Lamar Odom deal to the Rockets. The eighth selection in the '09 draft, Hill is an athletic 4/5 who can finish on the break, rebound, and block shots, but doesn't create his own offense or stretch the floor. He's a young asset, and in his third season has had some strong moments in the league. How he fits into the rotation is an open question, though he certainly could see minutes backing up both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum and could prove a very handy fellow to have around. Then again, he might not play much.
But Hill is not the news, here.
Derek Fisher hasn't been productive for a while now, and with the acquisition of Ramon Sessions becomes completely superfluous, and even a potential political problem in the Lakers locker room. L.A.'s ideal rotation at the point would have Sessions playing starters minutes with Steve Blake backing him up. That would leave Fisher on the bench, a place where he (understandably) wouldn't be happy. It would be a horrible setup, very difficult for Mike Brown to manage effectively. In the cold business of the NBA, you trade guys who can't help you but still cost money now and down the line, and that's what this is. The Lakers have no obligation to Hill next season, but would have owed Fisher over three million.
It's something that had to happen, but nonetheless feels strange.
On the court, frankly the Lakers lose very little losing Fisher. The transition comes is in the locker room. Beyond being Kobe Bryant's most trusted ally, Fisher was the ballast to Kobe incredibly strong personality. With Fisher gone, it will be interesting to see how Kobe changes his leadership style to accommodate the change, and who steps up into the leadership void. The natural candidate is Gasol, who moves up a rung on the locker room ladder. How this impacts his dynamic with Kobe will be something interesting to watch.
The bottom line is the Lakers, on a day where they have improved themselves significantly on the floor, also have set themselves up for a major adjustment off it.