Lakers News: Derek Fisher Officially Eligible to Sign with the Lakers

Since the beginning of free agency on July 1, the consensus has been that five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher could sign with any of the 29 teams in the league not named the Los Angeles Lakers.

Reportedly, that is no longer the case according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

“Sources briefed on the discussions told ESPN.com on Monday that Fisher has, indeed, been verified by the league office as eligible to re-sign with the Lakers since July 1, which runs counter to the widely held assumption that Fisher had to wait at least one year from the date that the Lakers dealt him to Houston in March before a reunion with Kobe Bryant would be permissible.”

With the rules in the new CBA stipulating that Fisher was unable to return to the Lakers until a year after he was traded, the veteran waiting until March 15, 2013 to sign with his former team seemed like a stretch to say the least.

As if waiting five months to sign with Los Angeles wasn’t enough to push Fisher in another direction, the blockbuster trade to acquire Dwight Howard also involved Chris Duhon heading to the Lakers. The addition of Duhon along with Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Darius Morris meant the Lakers’ backcourt was already crowded with no need for Fisher.

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Fortunately for the veteran point guard, the Lakers’ front office has been exploring the option of trading Duhon and or Blake to create some room in the crowded backcourt and save some money in the process.

At this point in his career, Fisher will likely be signing a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum. Despite the tight budget, this is affordable for the Lakers especially if the team is able to unload Duhon or Blake via trade.

Stein says there remains a mutual interest between the veteran floor general and the Lakers:

“He might ultimately decide to jump on the next palatable offer that presents itself, but I’m told that both Fisher and the Lakers have a level of interest in reuniting down the road if the circumstances are right, suggesting that the tension stemming from L.A.’s decision to discard the 38-year-old last spring is fading.”

As the Lakers’ front office proved over the off-season with the acquisitions of Nash and Dwight Howard, if team truly wants to make a move that it will likely happen. It’s uncertain at this point how far the team is willing to go to bring back Fisher, but a reunion is definitely possible.

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In case you missed it – our exclusive interview with Mychal Thompson!
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