Saying Goodbye To A Favorite

Darius Soriano —  March 15, 2012

It’s never easy saying goodbye to one of your favorite players. When you root for a team, certain players become more than a jersey, their stats, or even their contributions. They’re more than someone you hope succeeds on the court. They become, even if it’s patently illogical, part of your extended family.

This is how I’ve felt about Derek Fisher.

Through the years, D-Fish has provided me with some of my most memorable moments as a Lakers fan. The countless big shots. The moments where he’d rise to the occasion where many others would wilt. The times where he’d gather his guys in the huddle and inspire his teammates with words that only come natural to people that are born leaders. This was Derek Fisher I rooted for.

When you think about it, Fisher is one of the more unique players in recent history. He was never the best player on the team, but he was respected like he was. He was never the most skilled player but he had a knack for making the right play at the right time. He willed himself to becoming a contributing player on multiple championship teams through hard work and desire.

He became a player that superstars looked to for guidance but role players saw as one of their own. He was part player, part coach. Part clutch performer and part motivational speaker. He was an iron man on the court (not missing a game in 6 straight seasons and counting) and iron willed off it. Competitive as all get out and willing to do whatever necessary to win. This endeared him to his teammates and Lakers’ fans, despised by other fanbases, but respected all the same.

During this past off-season, he led the players union with dignity and dogged determination. He spoke of sticking together, of fighting for what was fair, and for not backing down in the face of what would surely be a deal that would be remembered as a defeat. He did this not because he necessarily wanted to, but because he was chosen to by his peers. Chosen to represent all players as the head of their union and fight for their interests.Gaining such respect doesn’t just happen on accident. It happens because of an abundance of character and leadership ability. Players from opposing teams and those that shared a locker room with him saw these qualities in him.

He was yin to Kobe’s yang of leadership style. The one that could smooth off the rough edges of a biting critique. The person that could turn a harsh phrase into a useful plan of attack to implement in the next game, on the next possession. And now, with him gone. A void must be filled. Who steps in at this point is anyone’s guess. Maybe Gasol – a player of long tenure and equal thoughtfulness is the guy. Maybe Bynum’s youthful honesty and emerging game will command the respect of his peers. And, of course, Mike Brown and Kobe will need to step in and be the guides that move this team forward.

Of course Fisher had his flaws. I mean, he’s been replaced in the lineup for real reasons and some other Laker will be looked to fill in what was missing from his game; to provide what he wasn’t in tangible production. But right now, it’s not really about harping on what he wasn’t and more about appreciating him for what he was and what he did provide. Which, for the time he wore a Lakers uniform was so much more good than bad.

It will be strange not having Fisher around. He was, for all intents and purposes, the definition of a professional. And I, for one, will miss him dearly. Though I’m sure I’m not alone there.

Darius Soriano

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95 responses to Saying Goodbye To A Favorite

  1. No you definitely aren’t. I cried once and I’ve teared up like a million times in the past few hours – we’re going to miss you D-Fish. Thank you so much for everything, all the memories – once a Laker, always a Laker <3 Good luck in Houston, I'll still be rooting for you wherever you go <3 Laker Nation will always love you!

  2. A fond memory that says it all about the way Fish shut up his critics when it mattered most.

    Aaron wrote on June 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I think everyone here knows how surprised I am that Fisher could hit those shots………. with those grapefruit sized balls hanging down between his legs!!!!! This wasn’t Fisher hitting a couple wide open spot up clutch shots as we’ve seen so many times from him before. This wasn’t Fisher taking the big time charge late in the game. This wasn’t Fisher getting the big steal (ala Artest knocking it off Big Baby). This was Derek Fisher taking over the entire last five minutes of the ball game like Chris Paul. He was taking it to the basket, coming off of pick and rolls, and pulling up for tough 15 footers. This wasn’t Fisher playing like a good NBA PG, this wasn’t Fisher playing like an All Star PG, this wasn’t Fisher even playing like a Hall of Famer. This was Derek Fisher playing like a legend. In one of the biggest quarters this historic Lakers franchise has ever seen… we saw Derek Fisher play one of the best quarters a Laker has ever played. At a time when Kobe wasn’t Kobe… Derek Fisher was.

    … I will never again say one bad thing about him… I was wrong

  3. Darius, I wrote a goodbye piece on Derek six weeks ago. I wish that was in your write up…. But this wraps up Fisher to me… Forever and always…

    Aaron wrote on June 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I think everyone here knows how surprised I am that Fisher could hit those shots………. with those grapefruit sized balls hanging down between his legs!!!!! This wasn’t Fisher hitting a couple wide open spot up clutch shots as we’ve seen so many times from him before. This wasn’t Fisher taking the big time charge late in the game. This wasn’t Fisher getting the big steal (ala Artest knocking it off Big Baby). This was Derek Fisher taking over the entire last five minutes of the ball game like Chris Paul. He was taking it to the basket, coming off of pick and rolls, and pulling up for tough 15 footers. This wasn’t Fisher playing like a good NBA PG, this wasn’t Fisher playing like an All Star PG, this wasn’t Fisher even playing like a Hall of Famer. This was Derek Fisher playing like a legend. In one of the biggest quarters this historic Lakers franchise has ever seen… we saw Derek Fisher play one of the best quarters a Laker has ever played. At a time when Kobe wasn’t Kobe… Derek Fisher

  4. Missed him when he left the first time, thought we’d never get him back. Was overjoyed when he returned. I will always remember Game 3 of the 2010 Finals when he wn that game, and turned the series. Just sad when his on court production fell off the cliff, and the very CBA he fought against ended up being one of the main reasons ($$$) he was traded. We will miss Fisher, but time for the Others to rise up.

  5. This is one of the few times that a sports event actually upset me on a personal level. Yeah I know, the logic makes sense. But I’d still much rather let go of Blake and let Fish retire in the purple and gold.

    Cheers Derek, thanks for everything.

  6. Fish will always be a Laker. Came up big whenever you needed him too. Favorite moment was the Game 3 layup vs Celtics that was epic. Forever a Laker

  7. I guess I’m getting old…and I don’t respect things like PER…but i just don’t understand this.

    There is value in people who play hard when they don’t get shots…fisher mastered that.

    Even if you started him for 3 minutes…..oh well…good luck to fish

  8. Championships can’t be won without players like D-Fish, and he did it over and over again. As you said, that makes him a truly special player, like Robert Horry before him. We all acknowledge that his play has slipped, but there are too many unappreciative fans out there.

  9. Derek Fisher had more guts and heart than most team’s rosters combined.

  10. The fans and the Lakers coaching staff and front office all appreciate what Fisher did for the team. They also all realize what he can’t do for the team anymore. Simple as that. Mitch basically said Fisher might have poisoned the lockeroom. Ramone Sessions this year torched and out played CP3. Is he better than Paul? No. But when was the last time a Lakers PG outplayed CP3? Let’s not over think this. Haha.

  11. Haha. Derek… Great minds think alike. Thanks for finding that. I remember writing that like it was yesterday. All of that was true except for me saying I was wrong. Haha. I wasn’t. I was just being a prisoner of the moment. If Sessions was on the team them we win game one with Ray Allen not torching Fisher and we don’t need that forth quarter by Fish. But everytng else was exactly that. Spot on. . But that was the best performance By a role player of all time. By far.

  12. #9 – Truth.

  13. It’s a bittersweet day in Lakerland. The team got a whole lot better, but in doing so, also dealt away someone who has been the heart and soul of 5 championship teams, and is as important to the franchise over the last decade as anyone not named Kobe or Shaq or Pau.

    Although he’s been terrible this year, and probably should have retired a year ago, it’s still hard to see him go. There are so many memories that he’s such a huge part of – his insane shooting in the 2001 playoffs, the 0.4 shot against the Spurs, the dagger 3 against the Magic in 2009, and then his defining game in Game 3 of the 2010 Finals against Boston. And yet, when I think back to that game, it’s not the clutch plays he made that stick with me, but, instead it was his post-game interview which truly sums up what kind of person he was and what he meant to the team.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ8YLoZKp3M

    So long, D-Fish. You will always be a Laker to me.

  14. @#1

    Man, me too, always been a fan of D-Fish, we’ll miss him but I wish they will retire his jersey in staples Center.

  15. Lost amidst all of this is Luke. I know he didn’t play much a role ever since Pau got here due to his injury, but he was worth that salary back then, being the legit #3 option of our team behind Odom but outperforming Odom every now and then because Odom was so maddeningly inconsistent.

    Of course Odom is not here anymore either, who basically was as big a part of our post-Shaq team as Kobe was.

    So this year we bid farewell not just to one favorite, but three(four or five if you start including Phil and Jerry Buss). I know Kobe talks big and acts as if he has cold water running in his veins, but I’m not sure if this doesn’t take a toll on him. It’s almost as if the Front Office is screaming at Kobe, telling him to get ready to pass the torch.

    I know I’m being overly sentimental and I really love the trade in terms of its ‘upside’ but on the other hand I feel as if this year, starting with the lockout, will be known as the beginning of a new Lakers, from top to bottom.

    Oh well, at least we still have Kobe.

  16. And on an unrelated, but much happier note – the Clips blew a big lead and lost at home to the Suns.

  17. For those still somewhat puzzled by the trade for other-than-basketball reasons, a few salient clues have come to light recently. Many reports indicate that the players’ only meeting and pull to return some if not all of the Triangle offense was trumpeted heavily by Fisher. In and of itself, this is not a problem. However, I think it quickly became clear to close observers of the team that Fisher’s stature and influence were starting to undermine Mike Brown. Whether or not you personally agree, the Lakers management is currently committed to Brown and combined with Fish’s overall decline in level of play it became a relatively simple decision for them to remove the player rather than get a new coach. Again, whether you agree with it or not, it’s hard to argue that having such a strong presence in the lockeroom like Fisher disagree/dissent with the Coach would have been good for team chemistry.

    That said, I will miss Fisher dearly and will remember his greatest moments during both his 5 championship runs with the team more than anything that may have transpired this season.

  18. How can you retire Shaq and not d fish? Shaq was a beast on the court, but d fish made an impression on and off the court. He played pivotal roles in Orlando and against Boston. #9 is spot on. It sucks that his trade was more about dollars than common sense, and I hope the FO was kind enough to give the notice he deserved, but this is a business. Fish will always be a favorite laker of mine.

  19. I hope I am not eviscerated for this comment but I do NOT think the Lakers should retire Fisher’s jersey. D Fish is one of my all time favorites but I like the tradition the Lakers have established of retiring the jerseys of Hall of Famers only. I do not want to become the Celtics of the west and retire the jersey of every Tom, Dick and Harry who might have helped us win a championship. Its sort of waters down the honor.

  20. Good-bye, Derek. We’ll always remember your game-winning shots. Maybe you’ll come back here in a year or two so you can retire as a Laker.

    This was my favorite tribute blog post to D-Fish, written by Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game and Hardwood Paroxysm after Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals vs Orlando:
    http://www.hardwoodparoxysm.com/2009/06/the-nightmare/

  21. Think of it this way, Fisher’s departure saved the Lakers again like the 0.4 shot against Spurs. It may be a bitter sweet news that we will no longer see Mr. President in the locker room but he saved the Lakers for his last games. As an organization, Lakers saved money from his departure, they acquired a young talent and a young upgrade Center, I looked at it as Fisher as the savior in his last assist as a Laker.

    It was in the Summer League of 1996 when I saw Derek donned the purple and gold jersey with this HS phenom from Merion at the Long Beach pyramid stadium. That was the start of his colorful career with the Lakers. In 2000. He, Foxie and Rob Horry were the great role players that catapulted Lakers to three consecutive Championships and four visit to the finals. In ’04 Finals, Fisher was always the professional who deferred for da Glove as the PG starter while Fisher played the 4th Q because of his proficiency in the triangle. In 2004, he moved to GS for better offer. After losing Shaq that year, if they retained the remainder including Fisher, IMO, Lakers could have gone to the Finals again in 2005 even without Big Fella. Of course, we all know what happened to Fisher’s comeback in 2007, he not only saved the Lakers from crisis but rejoins with destiny of being part of going to the Finals for three consecutive years with back to back titles.

    When da Fish winds up his NBA career, I’m positive he will be back again to the Lakers fold in another role because there is a historical bond intertwined between Derek and the Lakers as well as his fans. You can’t mention the 21st Century Lakers without mentioning the name of Derek Fisher. Therefore, tonight, I will just say goodnight to Mr. Fisher, not yet ready to say goodbye. See ya later.

  22. I know the trade makes logical sense, but from an emotionally attached area in my gut I feel bad. I feel pretty much like I still feel for Odum. Reminds me of when my cousins would come for the summer and we’d hishave tons of fun than one day in the middle of the night they were packing their bags headed out as if we had never really meant what we all meant to each other.. Bonds were broken—-simply because they weren’t there anymore…….I miss Lamar.. I will miss Fish… Sure wish he could retire a Laker..BUT WE NEED SESSIONS!

  23. No one seems to be mentioning this, but is Fisher’s daughter’s access to treatment still as urgent as it was in 2007(?)

  24. Thank you, Derek Fisher!

    Thanks for always being a classy professional, and a stabilizing force on all those championship teams.

    Hurry back to the Lakers, so you can coach some of the Lakers guards on how to play the game of basketball; how to use your brain and your brawn to win games.

    No. 4 in 0.4 is history, a part of the Laker lore. You will be missed but never forgotten!

    Thank you, Luke Walton. Injuries shortened your usefulness at the end of PJ’s triangle days. However, you were a perfect triangle player. Good luck.

  25. @19 – I agree regarding only retiring the jerseys of our HOFers. One of the two remaining HOF travesties (Artis Gilmore not admitted is the other) is Jamaal Wilkes not getting admitted yet. Two NCAA championships, four NBA championships, two-time first team NCAA All American, three-time NBA All Star, two-time NBA All Defensive team, NBA Rookie of the Year, and he’s not in yet? The second best player on the greatest college basketball team of all time, and he’s not in yet? If the Lakers break their policy of only retiring the jerseys of HOFers in order to retire D-Fish’s jersey, then they need to do it for Jamaal Wilkes as well.

  26. Not that I don’t wish we kept fish, but I will be 47754357 times as sad when Kobe is gone. I was 10 when he came into the league, and he is the last holdover from the first lakers title team I ever saw. Appreciate the mamba while he is here.

  27. The year was 1996, I just came from cancer surgery and chemotherapy as a 16-yr old athlete who’s dreams of a pro tennis career just ended. I was stuck at home recovering when my beloved Lakers drafted a phenom named Kobe Bryant and a little known PG from the Sun Belt Conference (Ark-Little Rock) named Derek Fisher. I remember he didn’t even have a printed name to be put on the big board in the draft since no one thought he’d be a first round pick. Then the Lakers signed Shaquille O’Neal and as much as it felt that I was re-born, my Lakers were also starting a new life. I followed closely this team ever since then. watching Kobe air-ball two shots in the 97 Utah series, losing to Utah and San Antonio, getting swept in the playoffs before Phil arrived and became the final piece to a dynasty. I was there when Fish became the starter, went back to the bench behind Ron Harper, become a starter again when he left, then back to the bench when Gary Payton arrived. When he left to go to Golden State and then Utah, and back to LA. I count myself as one of the fans that shed a tear when I found out he was getting traded. But I think that this is a new beginning for the Lakers, and what Mitch and Dr. Buss did today was make the transition to the post-Kobe era easier, make the team more competitive sooner than in 1992-1994 and 2004-2007.

    Thank you for being part of our Laker lives Mr. Derek Fisher. You will always be a Laker legend!

  28. 23. I recall fisher saying that she’s okay and pretty healthy which is great. In last 3 years or so not much has been mentioned about his daughter and in this case no news is great news.

    But I oft criticized fisher, but i never wanted the lakers to trade him nor thought they would. I just wanted the lakers to put fisher in a position to succeed. Having him play 25+ minutes and having to defend these young athletic pg’s just was too much. He would’ve be a fine 15 minute a night player that went up against 2nd string pgs and who closed out close games. I still think Fisher retires a laker one way or another. Sad to see him go.

  29. Yeah, sorry, as great as fish has been, just can’t justify retiring his jersey.

  30. Dude, I’ve been saying this for years about Jamaal as well. That’s a joke. How can the HOF ignore Jamaal and honor, say, Joe Dumars?

    Meanwhile, his jersey goes unretired, and sullied by the likes of Mike Smrek and Samaki Walker.

    Back to Fish: like I said in the last thread, my personal all-time Laker highlight reel will have plenty of scenes starring him making big shots in his #2. Doesn’t matter if the team doesn’t retire it (and I like the HOF-only policy), I’m still going to always associate him with that number, just like Kareem Rush and Ronny Turiaf didn’t make me forget that Michael Cooper owns #21.

  31. I will miss Derek Fisher.
    He ALWAYS played hard. He NEVER dogged it.
    It’s obvious that his work ethic and toughness and his ability to play every night are what Kobe respected.
    I hope all these young guys took notes on how to be a true professional by being around him and watching him prepare to do his job.
    Derek Fisher.
    Laker for Life

  32. A couple of points:

    Kobe trusting Drew for the last shot, overriding their coach. Kobe and Fish wanting to return to the triangle. There was a power struggle going on and now Kobe stands alone. Lil’ Jim is flexing his muscle. He is the boss of the Lakers not Kobe.

    The more salient point that everyone is missing is that we now have a point guard. Someone who reduces the need for Kobe handling the ball. I love Kobe’s game, but him being the only player on the team who could handle the ball and create his own shot was a problem with his wrist and fingers. It made for too many turnovers. Now we have a point guard who can do alot of what Kobe does without giving the ball up nearly as much. As much as I will miss Fish, reducing those giveaways will make his late game heroics less of a need.

  33. @23 – Thankfully, no. I believe her eye was saved and she is recovering after having received post-surgery chemotherapy.

  34. @32 – Good points as well. I’m really hoping that Kobe and the guys give Sessions a chance to shine. The guy did have a triple double against the Lakers in 2009, with 16 assists to the likes of Dan Gadzuric, Richard Jefferson, Charlie Bell, and Charlie Villanueva as his fellow starters.

  35. Also agree that you have to be truly special to have your number hanging from the rafters. There are plenty of “supporting staff” that deserve to be recognized besides DFish: Wilkes, Nixon, Rambis, Cooper, Horry, Odom…

    I’ve heard suggestions for a Lakers “Wall of Fame” and agree that would be a great way to memorialize them. Maybe at an eventual Lakers museum near Staples?

    And I’m not that sad because I have a feeling that DFish will be back. Maybe as an assistant coach? Maybe eventually the coach to Kobe’s successor? You never know…

  36. I would love to have a single banner that all those key Laker contributors could be placed on together. They don’t have to retire their jerseys, just have their names (or numbers) permantly raised in the honor of their contributions. They deserve that for being our non-HOF heroes.

    Thank you Derrick Fisher, Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Lamar Odom, Michael Cooper, Jamal Wilkes et al.

  37. The one thing Fish does better than any one is draw the charge. It epitomizes his sacrifices and intangible contributions that every championship team needs and doesn’t necessarily show up in the box score. God bless you, D Fish!

  38. Another tough as nails competitor who will enhance The Rockets. I don’t care how old he is.. MR Intangible will be missed. I wonder if Scola remembers the train that hit him in the playoffs a few years back?

  39. Almost seems by reports I have read that Fisher move was both about money and most about insecurity.

    Mike Brown’s of course. Sounds like FO was worried Fisher sitting on the bench would cause more Brown bashing by the team. With Fisher clearly having more impact then Brown it sounds like Jimmy didn’t want his hire Brown to roll up in a ball and start to cry. Fisher does have a big ego as one can see when he still thinks he can shoot the ball.

    Probably smarter to fire Brown and make Fisher the coach.

  40. Derek Fisher has the highest three-point field goal percentage in NBA Finals history. He ranks second in Finals three-pointers made and he’s played in 209 playoff games – fourth highest in NBA history. What I will miss most about DFish is when the other team is in a 2 on 1 break and Fish is the only Laker player back on D. It gives you some assurance that theres a pretty good chance that the 2 on 1 advantage is not an advantage at all because we have Fish defending both guys. How many times have we seen that a sure 2 pts basket on a fast break has been broken down by Fish. Even if he does not take the charge most of the time the player taking the shot misses. This is no coincidence as opposing players do think sub conciously that thet might get a charge againat Fish that eventually make them
    Miss their shot even if Fish does not take a charge. His mere presence as the safety guard carries a notorious reputation against offensive players. Thanks for the good memories El Presidente! Hope you will retire as a Laker and comeback as a Laker!

  41. Not Charlie Rosen March 16, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I wrote this about Fisher back after game 7 against Boston (…wow, that was way too long ago):

    “Is there anyone you’d want more in a foxhole next to you than D-Fish? The guy is limited, and aside from his rainbow jumpers (when they go in), his game is anything but aesthetically pleasing. But he is relentless. Sometimes it gets him into trouble; I can recall well more than a few times when it’s looked like he’s in a complete fog, just putting his head down and charging forward, hoping that his head is stronger than the brick wall he’s charging at. But there’s no one you want by your side more when everything’s on the line. He gives everything he has to his teammates, and in doing so silently demands that they give the same back.
    “I remember a game two years ago, mid-January, nothing of great import, early second quarter. Ariza got tangled up with someone under the basket–I think it was Gerald Wallace–and they were yelling at each other, in each other’s faces. Wallace got the best of it, stepping to the line and making his free throws, and it looked like Ariza was completely out of his game; it was the kind of sequence that leads to the other team going on an emotional run while you come unraveled. But D-Fish spoke quickly to Ariza, and then, on the next defensive possession, used some veteran trickery to get in Wallace’s blind spot and take a charge, Wallace’s 3rd foul, forcing him to the bench for the rest of the half, ending the run and getting the Lakers back on track. That’s revenge. That’s how you stick up for your friend. That’s both Judo and chess, in one brief sequence.
    “That’s D-Fish.”

    The dude will be missed; gonna wear my #2 jersey tomorrow, I think.

    (The rest of that post is here, if you’re interested in reminiscing: pemnofiction.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/83-79/ )

  42. I’m going to miss Fish hope he does well with Rockets.

    Tomorrow’s a new era and 1st day on the road to the championship.

    17

  43. Thank you.

    I could not have put it better myself. I was instantly heartbroken when I found out the news via text message earlier today. Nothing can away from the Laker legend is see when I look at Derek Fisher. A professional in every sense of the word and a leader that will not soon be forgotten.

  44. “Don’t it always seem to go

    You don’t know what you’ve got til’ it’s gone.

    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

    From a strategic business point of view, the front office was A+.

    From a chemistry point of view, the team may have just lost it’s mojo.

  45. Love ya Fish. You will be missed!

  46. when Kobe retires, I don’t think he can gain the credits more than D.Fisher

  47. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exLBauvLxXY

    As Aaron said earlier, this is Fish…. Love this video, chokes me up a bit every time I see it.

  48. Frank the Tank March 16, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Read at Hoopshype that Minnesota called off Beasley deal at 11:53.. They still wouldve probably given him to us for the draft pick and we couldve absorbed him into the TPE and kept Fisher, but i guess it looks like they needed to get rid of him for the betterment of the team. Wish we still had Fisher and Beasley instead of Hill :/

    Let’s go, tomorrow! Any word on if sessions plays tomorrow? Im thinking not, but i really cant wait to see him take the floor.

  49. So should we retire Fish’s jersey?

  50. Warren Wee Lim March 16, 2012 at 2:04 am

    There is something I would love to see the Lakers do: when the time is right, and it won’t be too far away, is to retire #2 beside #24.

    That would be the ultimate form of respect and love from the ultimate role player in the NBA. None greater.

  51. Frank the Tank March 16, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Sorry, i disagree. If you hang Fishers, there are at least 2-3 other players you have to hang up there as well. I say HOF or no retired Jersey.

    The real question is, when Kobe’s jersey is retired, do they retire 8 or 24? I say both.

  52. The only way to fairly judge the performance of Mike Brown is to provide him with the resources that meet the specifications which align with coaching philosophy.

    That’s what we do with our Laker coaches people. We put them in charge and we honor them by providing personnel consistent with play style our coaches demand for success.

    The exception being Westhead who was too stupid to realize that coming to loggerheads with Magic Johnson was about a sensible as planning a career as a Kamikaze pilot.

    In any case. it’s obvious that Mike Brown has had a relatively reasonable request up on the table since he arrived.

    “Get me a quality point guard so I can institute the style of play I believe will work best here.”

    Today we may have finally accomplished that. and therefore can begin hopefully, to assess the man in charge of the team’s play.

    Up until now, he’s been playing not only Phil’s hand,
    but having to augment everything because of the large personnel mismatch.

    I love Fisher and I love Odom. Perhaps those Texas imbeciles will buy out both of their contracts in this shortened year and we can resign them next year to much smaller veteran contracts that the franchise can afford.

  53. @49 Warren: #2 does not deserve to be retired. Everyone loved him because he is professional and all, but he is simply not in the same league as all the people who got retired. That’s just the most ridiculous suggestion in the world.

  54. Frank the Tank March 16, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Im looking on ESPN.com at some of Ramon’s better games this year, and he has held his own against the elite PGs of the league. For example:

    2/8 Against the Clippers, Sessions starts against CP3 bc of injury to Irving, Cavs Win.

    Chris Paul: 37 min/5-16 FG/16 pts/12 ast/ 3 reb
    Ramon Sessions: 39 min/9-16/24 pts/13 ast/ 2 reb

    3/2 Against the Bulls, Sessions starts, but Cavs blown out by 20

    Derrick Rose: 28 min/9-17 FG/19 pts/ 9 ast/1 reb/ 3 stl
    Sessions: 30 min/6-12 FG/ 16 pts/ 7 ast/ 2 reb/ 2 stl

    This is on the cavs people! I think his defense will improve playing with 2 All world defenders and having 2 7 footers who got his back. If he can play anywhere near to a draw with the top tier PGs in the game, Lakers become a whole different beast.

  55. Frank the Tank March 16, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Plaschke is a fool.

  56. I completely understand the reasoning behind the trade. I understand the nature of the business. It doesnt mean we can’t honor Derek and what he has meant to this organization. I’ve been rooting for purple and gold for over 25 season and Fish was one of the most charismatic players of his generation. I hope they decide to buy out his contract, allowing the Lakers to resign him next season so he may retire a Laker. He will forever be a Laker at heart. God speed Dfish! We love you brother!

  57. Ramon Session its all up to you now.. you will carry the guts and the leadership that D-Fish left behind.. GO LAKERS beat them all.. LAKERS CHAMPION..

  58. Frank the Tank March 16, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Lakers will not resign Fisher as a player.. There’s a reason we traded him. He’s done!

  59. Damn Mitch looks tired in the interviews at the deadline. It must have been a bloody intense week for him.

  60. I disagree Frank.

    I would much rather have seen us trade Steve Blake and his contract yesterday as opposed to keeping him as our backup point guard over Fisher.

    Now I’m working off the principle here that neither Blake nor Fisher would be starting PG once Sessions has his feet on the ground here.

    I think Derek would be absolutely fine as a backup and would hold his own for 12-15 minutes a game.

    6 minutes a half and he would have been just fine IMO.

    Now having said that, if a trade was necessary to break up some sort of inner sanctum type thing that dates back to Kobe, Fisher, bound to the principles of Phil Jackson and not buying into the present type thing, then we’re talking about a whole different matter.

    But head to head? Straight up? I’d have kept Derek as the backup and sent Blake off in a cocaine heartbeat.

  61. Over at thedreamshake.com they expect the Rockets to buy out Fisher when Lowry returns. That surprises me, I thought they brought him in for some veteran savy and playoff experience.

    http://www.thedreamshake.com/2012/3/15/2875024/nba-trade-deadline-savvy-rockets-make-two-safe-trades-gear-up-for#storyjump

  62. @Dave # 58 I agree with you, I would rather have Fisher coming off the bench instead of Blake. Would Have traded Blake instead of Fisher. Skills is one thing but CHARACTER wins championships.

  63. I remember when Fisher has broken foot , he still pratice shooting 600 times a day and later he became good 3pts shooter. Golden St made big mistake when they sign Fisher to run quick offense, Fisher was not Jason Kidd or Steve Nash. Fisher played well in Utah, when he was a backup PG.

    Lakers shouldn’t sign Fisher this year, because Mike Brown runs P@R offense not Phil’s offense . In my opinion, Fisher can play backup PG in this Lakers team if Lakers want to keep him, i still don’t trust Steve Blake in the playoffs on the road.

    I am not exciting too much about young players to come here, let’s see if they can improve road records and playing better in the playoffs. Good things Lakers get rid of bad contracts of Luke. Howard waiting for D-Williams to make a move first, Lakers have a good chance in the future.

    I think Fisher have better career than Steve Kerr of the Chicago Bulls.

  64. Conflicted about the jersery-retiring business. Wilkes definitely deserves a jersey in the rafters – I think Fish does too. But where is the line drawn (if you disregard the HOF rule)?

    Anyway, I’m going to really miss Fish but looking forward to seeing what this team looks like with a young, athletic lead guard.

    Y’all think Sessions will play tonight?

  65. DF: I am ready to move forward, but as I stated yesterday, we should have kept Fish + sent Blake (who is through 14).
    Jerseys: KB: Yes 8+24; DF: No – the Lakers jersey wall has an incredibly high standard (as in you need to be one of the best NBA players of all time). I like the idea of a banner similar to the 50′s Lakers for the 2nd tier group (Fish, Horry, etc.)

  66. Darius,
    I’m asking you this because I feel like you might change my mind. Im 80/20 on this, but I’m with Jon Hollinger who thinks the Lakers came out better trading for Jordan Hill over Michael Beasley. I think this is one of the few times where the lesser player (Hill) is a better fit. Basically… I feel the differece between Jordan Hill and Troy Murphy is greater than between Beasely and Barnes.

    I think we have all been blinded by how rediculosuly good Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have been that we haven’t realized how atrocious Troy Murphy is all over the court. As Hollinger put it… The only guy on the Lakers bench who has put up a decent season is Matt Barnes and you want to replace him? I’m also a giant Holinger fan in terms of scouting/analyzing players offesnive games. He isn’t a huge fan of Beasly. When you add in the fact Michael needs perimter ISOS to be effective Jordan Hill makes a lot of sense. The ball is going to be in Sessions hands and in the low post to Drew and High post to Gasol. The only perimter ISOS you would have to imagine will be going to Kobe.

    Looking at the trade that almost was… I am one of the few who feel the Lakers got lucky. Now I would have preferred if the Lakers got Beasley also… But if given the choice between Beasly and Hill who would you choose for this roster?

  67. Robert,
    That’s exactly the thing. This wasn’t a complete dump. If it was Blake (someone the Rockets could actually use) would be in Houston and Fisher would still be in LA. As Mitch pointed out there was three PGs on the roster and Fisher was the third. He also said it would have concerned him chemistry wise to bench a 16 year veteran like Fisher. He said he has seen that dynamic play out before and it wasnt always pretty. Trading Fisher was the best way to ensure a whole clubhouse and make it as easy as possible for Ramone Sessions to come in and be our PG in every sense of the word. Does that make sense or do you still feel we should have kept Fisher?

  68. The Dane,
    The Rockets didn’t really want Fisher. We basically said if you want this first round pick we got here you need to take Fishers contract on.

    Frank the tank,
    Don’t we have a no Plasche rule on this site? Isn’t it in the guidelines? Wasn’t he the same guy who said we should ship Bynum out of town because he drives too fast?

  69. Derek Fisher was always fearless, always ruthless (I will never forget when he decked Scola in that game), and he doesn’t know how to give up. He never will. You can’t learn a mindset like that, you have it or you don’t. I hate to say it, but it’s possible that we’ll miss that unique quality that he brought to the team, when the playoffs come.

  70. Frank the Tank,
    Per… Im looking on ESPN.com at some of Ramon’s better games this year, and he has held his own against the elite PGs of the league. For example:

    2/8 Against the Clippers, Sessions starts against CP3 bc of injury to Irving, Cavs Win.

    Chris Paul: 37 min/5-16 FG/16 pts/12 ast/ 3 reb
    Ramon Sessions: 39 min/9-16/24 pts/13 ast/ 2 reb

    3/2 Against the Bulls, Sessions starts, but Cavs blown out by 20

    Derrick Rose: 28 min/9-17 FG/19 pts/ 9 ast/1 reb/ 3 stl
    Sessions: 30 min/6-12 FG/ 16 pts/ 7 ast/ 2 reb/ 2 stl

    It’s funny you bring up those stats because the Cavs play by play guy was on the radio telling the Lakers fans who Sessions is. He said “This guy is the real deal… He torched Chris Paul earlier this season. Just torched him” I mean we are really getting a PG.

  71. Aaron,
    I’m not in Mike Brown’s head but my assumption was that Beasley would have replaced Murphy and been plugged in as a stretch PF. When viewed through that lens, I’m not sure what the better deal would have been as there are pluses and minuses to that solution. Beasley certainly would have helped offensively as he’s better than Murphy at everything on that end of the floor with the added bonus that he could even break his man down off the dribble and create shots for himself should the offense break down. If Murphy were faced with that scenario, he’s likely passing to the next open man regardless of who that man is.

    That said, Beasley is not the rebounder or help defender that Murphy is and his attention span on that end of the floor is sporadic at best. He likely would have been better chasing stretch 4′s around the wing (guys like Al Harrington, for example) but down low I doubt he provides the same caliber post defense one on one that Murphy provides. Nor do I think he gives the hard fouls that Murphy does in trying to protect the rim.

    I’ll try to write on Hill in the next couple of days to give a more full picture in what I think he’ll provide. But in terms of him vs. Murphy I think – if my assumption was correct about where Beas would have been slotted – I’m not sure what deal would have been better considering they’re such different players that would have provided much different things to the team. What’s better or worse in that instance can really only be determined if we actually got to see both play in the schemes in the roles they were asked to fill.

  72. On the jersey retiring…

    Fisher should NOT get his jersey retired. If you hang his jersey somewhere in time, then you must hang Coop’s, Rambis’, Byron Scott’s, Wilke’s and Robert Horry’s. I understand that they were fan favorites and they played huge roles in championship teams but we must draw the line somewhere. We are not the Cavs nor the Clippers. If we retire all numbers of our outstanding role players then we wouldn’t have any numbers left. But, if they hang all of their jerseys, then I’m fine with it.

  73. For all you guys talking about retiring Fish’s jersey…the Lakers don’t retire role players jerseys…period. I’m a long time Laker fan, and obviously role play are important in title runs & championships, but they (the Lakers) don’t retire their numbers. Now I’m all about “special recognition” for role players who played major roles in title runs, maybe a “ring of honor” or some other designation for role players who stepped up on multiple occasions. Following will be the guys I’d like to see receive that honor:

    -Michael Cooper
    -Robert Horry
    -Derek Fisher
    -A. C. Green
    -Kurt Rambis
    -Bob McAdoo (yes, he’s in the HOF, but was a role player w/ the Lakers, much like Bill Walton w/ the Celtics)

    Personally I don’t consider guys like Jamal Wilkes & Norm Nixon “role players”. Those guys were stars thru out there careers.

  74. Like A.C. Green before him, Fish was a player who made you proud to be a Laker fan. Someone of unimpeachable character who always left it all on the court, I felt honored to have him on the roster (liabilities and all). I hope he takes the trade as it was (or appears to be) intended–as a way to let him finish his career with the same class he always displayed.

    (As an aside, it sure would be nice to see Fish end up coaching the Lakers one day–I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t end up in a head coach’s chair or as GM…)

  75. The best joint basketball / emotional resolution for Fish would have been his retirement a few games into this season, following his commanding Union Prez performance. Or, at the least, his public self-demotion to Blake (and G.lock).

    But, as awesome as Fish is in so many ways, he didn’t do that. Tragically (or at least as tragic as NBA-ball gets anyway), he set himself up for this sort of situation.

    I still get the emotional response from us fans, it still makes sense. But the situation, in hindsight, is not very surprising.

    As for the Plaschke article – ick; not sure Plaschke _has_ a heart. Or a brain.

    Lastly, I’m with the “don’t retire his jersey” crowd. As for his Laker history with Kobe, it would be better represented by, say, having Fish induct Kobe into the Hall of Fame, or some similar honorary event.

  76. Darius,
    I wasn’t comparing Beasly to Murphy. I was comparing Beasly to Hill. But yes… We disagree on how we were going to play Michael. I just don’t think in today’s nba you can play a 6-8 thin guy at PF for long stretches. But yes… If the Lakers got him to okay the 4 and he could actually get away with that on the boards and defensivley it would be a much better move to get Beasely.

  77. LA has four players that have been through the fire and back come playoff time. Though D. Fish will be missed, some are downgrading the teams mental makeup because of the loss of one individual that everyone agrees was past his prime. Drews still here, Pau, Kobe and you can even count MWP in that bunch. Im not downgrading the importance of Fish, but there is more than enough battle tested warriors on this squad to make up for what Fish brought to the table.

    “Nothing last forever, Forevers a lie. All we have is what’s between hello and goodbye.” Lets just remember the good times for what they are(goodtimes) and start writing the next chapter of Laker history come tonight.

  78. @BigCitySid
    It’s been a while, but I distinctly remember that when Fisher went off to the Jazz, on the first home game when the Jazz came to visit, the Lakers had a pre-game ceremony singling him out and thanking him for all he had done for the franchise through the years.

  79. @21 – Edwin, my friend…I’m in tears.

    This is Fish’s last assist, last clutch basket, his last way to help the Lakers.

    We’ll be waiting for your comeback, Fish. One way or the other.

    Oh, regarding the rafters….hm…I don’t know. But I guess we should.

  80. Interesting side note: As a results of recent trades made by the Lakers, do you realize the 2nd player in seniority based on games played in a Laker uniform is… Andrew Bynum. That’s right, Bynum, injuries and all. Kobe, of course, is the leader, currently at 1146 games played. Fish was 2nd (915), Lamar Odom, 3rd (519), Luke Walton, 4th (493), and Sasha Vujacic, 5th (420). Bynum is currently at 371. If your wondering about Gasol: 298:

    http://bkref.com/tiny/jrCRX

  81. Easy solution for Fisher, barring the institution of a “Ring of Honor” sort of thing (which I’m highly in favor of) is a bust in the Staples lobby. He doesn’t rate an outdoor statue (and Kareem’s next in line anyway), but…hell, combine the ideas. Make the Ring of Honor for those who don’t rate jersey retirement and put up busts of all of them.

    Some in-arena recognition would be good too, but it goes like this:

    HoF/championships = jersey retired (not ironclad, you have to consider if someone like Horry gets into the Hall–I think he deserves Ring of Honor status but not a retired jersey).

    Championship team member/All-Star-level player/local legend/glue guy = Ring of Honor. Championship plus one of those other factors would put you into qualifying range. That covers Cooper, Scott, Wilkes, Fisher, probably Horry, Green, Rambis and a few others I’m probably forgetting.

    Speaking of Byron Scott, he had a little talk with Luke when he came into the league about wearing his number, since he was trying to get it retired. Since Byron is Luke’s coach, I’m sure now that #4 is free again they’ve already had a laugh about it.

  82. Fisher’s number should absolutely, positively be hanging in the rafters. The “HOF rule” is unwritten and made to be broken. It’s not just what Derek did for the Lakers on the court, but the way he represented the organization with class and distinction off of it. I’ve followed the Lakers since 1980 and lump him in with Coop, Scott, Silk, Fox and Horry–as great as they were–misunderstands the fundamental leadership role Fish has played throughout.

    I get that Sessions is an on the court upgrade over Derek in every statistical sense imaginable. I’m excited to see what he can do and how he changes the nature of our anemic offense. But here’s what I just don’t know: there will come a moment late in a crucial game when the pressure is at its peak and the ball will find its way to Sessions. I have no idea if he is the kind of player that is ready and willing to seize that moment and rise to the occasion. With Derek that was never something I had to worry about, statistics be damned. It’s not even a matter of whether Sessions will necessarily make the shot–but does he have the cojones to take it? Some guys, as great as they are the rest of the time, shrink from the occasion. In 2002 I would happily have traded Horry for Webber for the first 45 minutes of any game, but not for the last 3…Anyway, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  83. Darius,
    Obviously nobody should be surprised Pau looks more comfortable doing this than banging under the basket ;)

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-pau-gasol-karaokes-following-trade-deadline-20120316,0,3926101.story?track=rss

    I also want to somewhat say I was wrong about Gasol. You I think will be proven correct. After watching him on that Facebook video he put out yesterday (it looked and sounded like he just got done crying out of relief) I think because he is a little mentally soft (last years playoffs) he will be a new player aft the trade deadline. I am now predicting he didn’t lose as much athleticism as I thought. That perhaps he just wasn’t energized because of his emotional state (again he is weak mentally) and we will see a faster and quicker and more engaged Gasol moving forward. I hope at least I am right.

  84. We all loved Fishers heart and clutch shots. But let’s not go nuts hahaha. You need to at least make an all star team to get our number retired. I mean at the least… Let alone being a HOF. Fisher sadly is now retiring with career numbers below Smush Parker in PPG and FG percentage. That is kind of sad. He should have retired earlier so we didn’t have to remember him like this. But what a clutch player he is.

  85. Aaron – calling Gasol mentally weak is absurd. The guy was the MVP of game seven for 2010 ‘s championship (and maybe for the whole series) when Mr. Mental Toughness, Kobe Bryant, was shooting 25% in the most high stakes game of the year.

    This year he has had to make two major adjustments. One – moving to third option behind Bynum, often. Not only that, but figuring out how to help Bynum reach his potential. Two – learning MB’s system and new role for him.

    If you want to say he has a tendency to overthink things at times – true. If you want to say he is an emotional guy – yup. But mentally weak – c’mon.

  86. Aaron@68: The “chemistry” discussion can go either way. Leadership, crunch time, + Kobe consultation, all suggest Fish. I never thought he should be starting, but he would be the ideal backup. Add the fact that Blake was locked in til 14, and I don’t get this one. However I am ready to move on, as this decision has been made : )

  87. Darius,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful tribute. Your sentiment seems to closely parallel the views of am710 John Ireland, who was surprized and pleased by the outpouring of comments favorable to Derek–so different from the strident critics who commented prior to the trade announcement.

    In the end, it was the vigilantes versus the chemists–and the vigilantes had their way.

    Neither Derek nor coach nor teammates have commented. The silence is deafening. The consequences for the Lakers should soon be evident.

    Me–I’m in mourning, wondering how the team will now find it’s Mojo.

  88. VoR,
    So you’re saying he is physically weak? I don’t understand what you are trying to say. Gasol stuck it up as bad as any all star in the playoffs last year scoring under 13 ppg on less than 40 percent shooting. He said it was because of personal problems. That makes him mentally weak. If he was shutdown by bad nba starters not because of personal problems it means he was starting to decline athletically. I’m agreeing with Darius here now and saying I don’t think Gasol is declining athletically…. That he was paying poorly becaue of personal problems. That means he is mentally weak. Bynum wouldn’t shut it down because of GF problems and he hasn’t played mediocre ball because of trade rumors. He has been on the block for the passed three years. And I wouldn’t call Drew Kobe Bryant. I don’t see why you’re choosing to ignore those issues with Gasol. No player is perfect. Gasol has issues dealing with things emotionally and mentally. He even admits it to his credit. That’s my definition of being mentally weak. What’s our definition? I’m not saying Pau is the most mentally weak player in the nba. But I do owns think he is on that side of the conversation. Thoughts?

  89. When Fish is gonna say something?

    Are the new guys playing tonight?

  90. Thanks for all Fisher has done for the Lakers. I don’t understand why a 36 year-old would demand a 4 year deal when his contract expired. Had he asked for something more reasonable, I’d think Lakers FO would’ve been okay with keeping him on the team.

  91. Jerseys: There really are no “rules” for this. However, the commonality amongst all on the wall is HOF. Everyone except Baylor also has at least 1 Laker ring (inclusive of the 50′s guys). McAdoo is really the one who is closest, because he is one of the greatest of all time in the NBA, is in the HOF, + was key on Laker teams in 4 finals + 2 rings. He did spend most time elsewhere, but so did Wilt. Not an exact science here : ) Probably fine as is, add Shaq, then add both numbers for Kobe : )

    PS: Baylor – I think technically got a ring as well – so all have rings

  92. #56:

    (Frank the Tank wrote on March 16, 2012 at 2:50 am)

    “Plaschke is a fool.”

    Tell me something we *don’t* know! ;)

    How does he still have a job? Just trying to troll the LA Times reader like T.J. does.

    It’s called a breakup guys. When has there been a happy one?

    Bye.

  93. darius: the bartender bunch are smarter than they look. trading fisher minimizes the pressure on mike brown to demote fisher to the bench and maximizes the thought that eventually kobe will opt out from the lakers. not sure if they thought this far ahead, so i said it. reading between the lines and the subtleties associated with last minute trades and acquisitions tells me the bartender bunch are not only listening to their critics (laker fanatics) but are using the critiques as fuel to move forward toward wiping away all remnants of the phil jackson era in an attempt to carve a niche for the new cocktails and dreams, we’re in jamaica man mentality that permeates the bartender bunch we call the new laker front office regime. having said that, happy friday darius. Go Lakers !!

  94. darius: thanks for the spell check thing. game preview forthcoming?