Derek Fisher is not going to take Mark Cuban’s bait.
The Oklahoma City point guard understands that he’s probably not the most popular guy in Dallas, and certainly not in the Mavericks’ offices.
He spent nine games and three weeks with the Mavericks in December before calling it quits. Maybe it was the prospect of being with a team that is unlikely to make the playoffs. Or maybe, as Fisher has said many times, it was simply family matters that he wanted to get through.
But when he signed with Oklahoma City, which visits American Airlines Center at 6:30 tonight, Fisher knew he was going to catch some flak from Cuban, the Mavericks owner who said with much sarcasm that two months obviously gave Fisher’s kids a chance to grow and mature and now it’s understandable that he’d feel OK leaving them for longer stretches.
For Fisher, it was simply something he felt was right to do.
“Anytime you join a team, even if it’s for a short while, there is some connection that takes place as far as teammates, coaches, people in the organization,” he said. “I don’t know how happy they’ll be to see me. But I don’t have any problems with anyone here. I’m just looking forward to what should be a fun game.”
So, was it weird going through that situation, where he went from his couch in Los Angeles to starting nine games, then back to LA?
“I don’t know if weird is the right word,” he said. “But for sure, as I’ve said before, personally, there was some struggles in terms of really feeling like I could come to work and be fully committed to the team and the organization. And that basically was what I shared. Instead of continuing to try to fight through that it would probably be best for me to return back home and spend some time with the family. After a couple of months of being away from the game, reflecting on some things, thinking about how I wanted to finish my career, this opportunity presented itself, and I took it.”
Fisher added that he would not return the volley that Cuban lobbed toward him when he signed with the Thunder. Fisher has learned in a 17-season NBA career that it serves him no purpose to get in a war of words with Cuban.