For the second season in a row, the Oklahoma City Thunder signed veteran point guard Derek Fisher.
Although Fisher played has played for the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 38-year-old was always most closely associated with the Los Angeles Lakers, who drafted the point guard out of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock with the 24th overall pick in 1996.
Fisher served as a rookie during the 1996-97 NBA season alongside Kobe Bryant, and the pair have won five championships together.
Last season, the Lakers traded Fisher to the Houston Rockets at the trade deadline, and the Thunder did not hesitate in signing the veteran to their team for the last 20 games of the regular season after Fisher negotiated a buy-out with the Rockets.
Fisher played a vital role off the Thunder's bench during their post-season run to the NBA Finals, where they were eventually beaten by the Miami Heat.
In last season's playoffs, Fisher averaged 6.3 points, 1.3 assists, 1.6 rebounds in 22.3 minutes, but his extensive post-season experience and knack for hitting a big shot late in games was seen as the primary reason the Thunder signed the aging point guard.
Fisher’s leadership qualities were cited as a major asset during the Lakers’ last two championships, and he is still serving as the President of the NBA Players’ Association.
The Thunder traded guard Eric Maynor at this season’s trade deadline, so the Thunder had an open spot in the back court, and Fisher appeared to be a proper fit for a team with championship aspirations.
Fisher has played in 229 post-season games in his career—the vast majority of which have come with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last season, the Lakers were eliminated by Fisher and the Thunder in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Although Bryant was not in favor of trading Fisher away last season, the Lakers never displayed any interest in re-signing the long-time Laker despite LA suffering through a point guard crisis earlier in the season.