There are days in the sporting world when you are brutally reminded that sports are a business. There are days when you are reminded that qualities like loyalty and the concept of team are secondary to the bottom line.
We recently had one of those days when the Los Angeles Lakers got rid of their starting point guard, Derek Fisher hours before the end of the trade deadline.
I understand that Sports have no barring on life and the truly important things are my wife, daughter, and family in general. But there is a little place in my soul devoted to sports, a place where sports matter. It is a place where wins and losses resonate with me like a wave crashing into a beach. And in that place, I am completely crushed by the loss of Derek fisher.
There are certain players in every sport that have done so much for an organization that, no matter how old and broken down they become, deserve to retire on their own terms- Derek Fisher was one of those players.
On paper the Lakers made a smart trade: swapping Fisher and a draft pick for Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill respectively. The team got a little younger and a little faster, while shedding some big contracts that will add valuable cap space next season.
I understand that on paper this trade works. Yet is still feels like Fisher was at the wrong end of a panic move to appease the fans. The Lakers have been pursuing a block buster trade all season, with Mitch Kupchak basically threatening to trade Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum at any minute. It feels like the Lakers put all their chips in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and when they couldn’t get him, sacrificed Fisher just to say they made a trade.
It’s difficult to tell if the trade order came from Kupchak or Jimmy Buss, but it does not matter. The Lakers should have been loyal to Fisher, the way there were loyal to James Worthy and Kurt Rambis in the early 90’s. Making a small upgrade to your team should not be more important than showing loyalty to one of your players for 13 years of service.
It will be tough to see Fisher in a Houston Rockets uniform. He was as synonymous with the purple and golden as Kobe Bryant is. He had many big moments throughout the years. It you were to walk down the streets of Los Angeles and say to any Lakers fan .04, they would immediate know what you were talking about. If you were to ask any Lakers fan about Game 4 of the 09’ finals in Orlando, they would tell you about Derek Fisher hitting a three pointer to send the game into overtime and another to seal the game in the final seconds.
If you were to ask any Lakers fan about Derek Fisher, they would tell you about the wily charges that only a veteran like him could take or his hustle every time he would dive for a loose ball. If you were to ask any Lakers fan about Derek Fisher they would tell you that he was nothing but class during a time when many players are not. If you were to ask any fan about Derek Fisher, they would say he was a joy to watch, and will truly be missed.