Derek Fisher Returns to Staples

Wearing an Oklahoma City Thunder t-shirt, Derek Fisher addressed the Los Angeles media prior to the Lakers – Thunder matchup on Thursday night. Here’s some of what he had to say:

Q: On his emotions:
Fisher: I’ve been through this dress rehearsal before with a couple different teams, and although it’s different compared to what I’ve been used to, it’s a game. I play for the other team now, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and competing tonight.

Q: On coming back to Los Angeles:
Fisher: I’m most excited about seeing my friends and brothers in terms of my x-teammates and guys I grew close to over the years, and then an extension of that are the fans, not just in the arena but the entire city of Los Angeles, the love and support and appreciation they’ve shown me over the years far exceeds anything I could have imagined when I first moved here in 1996. I’m extremely thankful for everything and looking forward to playing in front of them a couple more times before the regular season is even over.

Q: On if his attitude or emotions towards the situation have changed:
Fisher: Yes. I know there have been a lot of statements made, including mine, about what I thought I knew about the situation, whether I knew I was going to get traded, how I was going to feel about it, what my role would have been if I were still on the team. I’m at a good place right now. Initially it was more shock than just pure disappointment.

It’s not for me to speak at this point about how things could have been or should have been handled. I’ve moved on, the organization had intentions of moving on and exercised those intentions and had every right to. I don’t place any blame on any one or the team as a whole. It was fair for them to do what they did; now it’s time to move on to hopefully bigger and better things in terms of what can be accomplished. It was strange circumstances, but I’ve tried to make the most of it.

Q: On if he can help Russell Westbrook at the point guard position:
Fisher: Russell is a talent that doesn’t necessarily need me to tell him anything about how to play this game and what to do. At the same time, when you’re part of a team, part of that responsibility is to make contributions not just on the court through your performance but off hte court helping teammates, supporting teammates. So for Russell, for Kevin (Durant), for every guy on this team, that’s a part of why I wanted to go play with these guys, to add my experience and my wisdom, share some stories, remind these guys that I was playing when they were in the fifth and sixth grade. I’ve played a lot of basketball and still have quite a bit of basketball left to be played. I’m looking forward to adding what I can add to a situation that was special before I arrived.

Q: On selecting No. 37, his age, as his jersey number:
Fisher: As I stated, it seemed like it came before my name so much, regardless of what I’ve been able to do or help my teams do in the past. That number seemed to be the number that trumped everything regardless of any performance or any success that the team had, that number always came first before my name, so I figured I’d just put it out there for everybody to continue to use first, and not just turn it into a positive but just having some fun. It was strange because with the Thunder most of all the single digits were gone, a couple double digit numbers that I like to wear were retired, so 37 just became special because I still believe at my “advanced” age, there are 37 reasons why I can help the team be successful, so that’s what I’m going to try and do.