The Oklahoma City Thunder added veteran leadership to their roster on Wednesday, as “The Oklahoman” has reported that the team inked veteran Free Agent guard Derek Fisher to a contract for the balance of the season. The former Los Angeles Lakers guard cleared waivers on Wednesday, after the Houston Rockets negotiated a buy-out of his contract on Sunday night. Fisher was sent to the Rockets last Thursday in a deal that netted the Lakers center Jordan Hill. According to the paper; Oklahoma City outbid the Miami Heat for Fisher’s services; as Miami could only offer him the NBA veteran minimum salary, while the Thunder used part of their mid-level exception to entice the guard to join their squad.
The report states that Oklahoma City will hold a press conference before they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night to introduce their newest player and that Fisher will be in uniform for Wednesday night’s contest. The Thunder will have to cut a player from their roster to bring Fisher on board and forward Ryan Reid appears to be the man heading for the chopping-block. The team may be able to reassigned him to their NBDL club the Tulsa 66ers.
Fisher’s role on the floor will be greatly reduced as we will go from being the starter in Los Angeles to backing up All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook with his new team. That however, is not how acquiring Fisher will pay the biggest dividends for Oklahoma City; it will be from having a veteran leader on the team that can teach the young talented roster he is surrounded by what it takes to win an NBA Title. Fisher having won five NBA Championships will be able to help superstar Kevin Durant, Westbrook and the other young players keep their composure when times get rough in the Playoffs.
Fisher proved to be a motivating force for the Utah Jazz in the Playoffs during the 2006-2007 campaign, as he helped show young stars Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer the ropes. That team ultimately was not talented enough to make it to the Finals as the San Antonio Spurs would win the NBA Title that season. However, this Thunder squad just might have what it takes talent-wise and having Fisher as a leader on the club just might be the piece that helps them get to the top.