Yes, indeed. Welcome back, Mr. Fisher. Kobe wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: ”Then again, these issues have proven a small trade-off for an uncanny ability to hit shots requiring huevos grande. I mean, big ol’ onions. Dude’s as clutch as players come, and until we see him turn “Robert Horry in the 2003 playoffs,” I refuse to stop extending Fisher a benefit of the doubt. One or two more biggies are guaranteed to drop before the sneaks are hung up for good.
Ultimately, Fisher’s impact is felt heaviest in the locker room and along the sidelines during games. His speeches are now the stuff of legend, the reason he has the ear of everybody on the roster, including Kobe Bryant. Some might even say especially Kobe — who stayed in Fish’s ear constantly while the situation was mulled — since the Mamba has labeled his longtime teammate the one player he’s absolutely willing to give audience, no questions asked.”
Kevin Ding, OC Register: ”It’s funny how desperately Bryant wanted to win without Shaquille O’Neal and yet Bryant now can’t stand the prospect of trying to win without Fisher – which Bryant has never done either. For a time there when things were good between Bryant and O’Neal, their opposites attracted – as is the case in the best of any relationships. But they never shared the core values that make Bryant and Fisher – for all their personality differences – more similar than you might think.
Bryant can respect Fisher to such an extent because Fisher works comparably hard and believes in himself comparably much. Fisher is a politician with a charming smile and analytical words, but he is just as certain at the bottom line as Bryant that no one can break him.”
Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: “Derek Fisher was coming back to the Lakers. He flirted with Miami, but they could offer even less money than the Lakers. And more than money, it was about comfort. He fits well in the triangle. He could win titles in L.A. And Kobe Bryant wanted him back. It was going to happen. But for three years?”
Marc Stein, ESPN: ”Bryant, though, has not abandoned his pursuit and continues to press Bell to join the Lakers, who have only $1.8 million of their mid-level exception left to offer Bell next season after signing Steve Blake.
One source close to the situation said memories of Bell’s takedown, which earned him a suspension for Game 6 of the series — the Suns, down 3-2, won the game at Staples Center without him — are actually one reason why Bryant sees Bell as such an ideal teammate. The premise? Anyone with the gumption to hit Bryant that hard is someone he wants on his team.”
Mark Medina, LA Times: “All it took was a one-word answer for Michael Jordan to settle the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James debate. When he was asked at a basketball camp who the better basketball player was, Jordan simply said, “Kobe.” You can counter that Jordan’s talent evaluations leave a lot to be desired. He did draft Kwame Brown, you know. But his reputation as the game’s all-time greatest player speaks for itself. This is hardly a new revelation. When James won his second best most valuable player award, I presented in detail why Bryant is still the NBA’s best player.”