2010 Exit Interviews: Derek Fisher

fisherFor the fifth straight season and seventh time in eight years, Derek Fisher played in all 82 regular season games, then went on to play his best basketball of 2009-10 in the playoffs.

Fisher nailed a dagger three-pointer to beat Utah in Game 3 of Round 2, scored 11 huge points to carry L.A. to a Game 3 win in Boston and hit a game-tying three late in the fourth quarter of L.A.’s Finals-clinching Game 7 victory.

Fisher averaged 7.5 points on 38 percent shooting with 2.5 assists in 27.2 regular season minutes per game, and went up to 10.3 points on 44.8 percent from the field with 2.8 assists in 32.8 postseason minutes.

Below are the highlights of his exit interview:

- (On if he wants to come back): “Yeah. I’ve never mixed any statements or positions about winning and wanting to be associated with winning championships and being on the best team in the NBA. It would definitely be a great opportunity to be in the position to do it again next year. I’ll let that process take care of itself. It’s about a commitment to winning, and I guess it’s hard to quantify that, or put a price on that, but in our business you have to. I don’t think there’s any question about Dr. Buss and his commitment to winning, and Mitch and his commitment to winning. It’s just a matter of sitting down and working out details.”

- (On terms of a deal): “I’m not chasing money. I’m not trying to stretch out a deal artificially.”

- (On not missing a game since APRIL 13, 2005): “It means a lot to me because it symbolizes the commitment and sacrifice required to come to work every day and be available to your team every day. That requires a lot of sacrifice. Some of those hot days in the summer when you could be at the park with the kids or going to lunch with your kids, a lot of times I’m working out. It’s worked out well, and I’ve made an investment … It definitely took some trial and error. I learned from things (like injuries), and every year try to keep pushing the envelope to try and keep myself in the best possible condition in the event that I need to go all the way. I’d rather be prepared to play 38 minutes and carry a heavy load in case I need to.”

- (On players learning from each other, particularly Fisher and Bryant): “Myself and Kobe definitely observe each other’s patterns and behaviors. We’re very influential amongst each other. Things that he’s seen from me that I’ve seen from him and all of our teammates, things we pick up from each other play a huge part in guys pushing themselves beyond what their comfort level might be. I think Andrew’s committment to the team this year probably says that the most, pushing through that injury. Watching Kobe push through his knee problems (likely had to do) with that.”

- To Fisher, starting is something that remains a priority, but he said it’s not necessarily a “deal breaker” in terms of next season.

- Fisher said that his family would like him to come back to the Lakers.

- (On satisfaction for proving skeptics wrong): “For me it feels good to come through no matter what had been or was said throughout the regular season. To be honest I don’t know if I’d like it any other way. Part of the reason why I’m here is because of what I was told I couldn’t do … in high school, in college, that’s what I’ve heard my whole basketball career basically. I guess I’ve developed an ability to just kind of let that be what it is and let people say what they have a right to say.”

- (On if he’ll take calls from other teams on July 1): “I have a responsibility to my family as much as myself to answer (calls from other teams) and have the appropriate conversations and make sure there’s an understanding of the options that are available to us. I would teach my kids that. I’d teach them to make sure they gather all the information and do their due diligence before they make an important decision. I’ll go through that process, but I won’t make a decision before I know exactly where I stand here.”