After days of speculation, former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher has reached an agreement with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the remainder of the season.
"We are excited to add Derek to the Thunder and believe his experience and abilities will make a positive impact with our team," said OKC Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. "He is someone that will enhance our roster's current and future development on and off the floor through his knowledge, professionalism and approach to the game."
"Considering I had the opportunity to basically choose the situation and the right fit, there was no doubt after speaking with several teams that this was the best place and the best fit," said Fisher.
The Thunder made the announcement Wednesday evening just after Fisher officially cleared waivers. The veteran point guard will be in uniform, wearing No. 37, and available to play during Wednesday's home game against the L.A. Clippers. OKC waived Ryan Reid to make room for Fisher to join the team.
"How much he plays will be determined by Scott (Brooks)," said Presti. "He will be available to the coaching staff if they choose to use him."
Coach Brooks said before the game that Fisher will mainly play backup for Russell Westbrook, but that he will also play some alongside Westbrook in the lineup.
"I think for those of us that have watched him or seen him play over the years, certainly his communication on the floor and his ability to have awareness on both ends of the floor,"added Presti. "His attention to detail and preparation is impeccable and those are things we will always value."
The 37-year-old veteran point guard was officially placed on waivers Monday at 6 p.m. ET, giving teams under the salary cap 48 hours to claim him. He was owed a little less than $1 million for the rest of this season and had a player option worth $3.4 million for next season with the Lakers. Fisher surrendered his entire 2012-13 salary to secure his buyout from the Rockets and the opportunity to pick a contender to join for the stretch run.
Fisher brings a plethora of leadership, experience and professionalism to the court as well as the Thunder locker room, not to mention a handful of intangibles that come from his more than fifteen years in the NBA.
"I think Derek first and foremost is a player and he will help us on the court but he is also someone that will help all of our guys, not just the point guards but everybody in terms of his experiences and things he can share," said Presti. "He has been through a lot of things and had some big moments and his professionalism is something that is widely regarded as well and something we value in our organization."
ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the Thunder and Fisher were "very close" on a deal despite a strong pitch from the Miami Heat, who could only offer the veteran minimum salary. The Thunder had roughly $3 million left of their mid-level exception and thus possessed the ability to outbid Miami by offering a portion of that amount to sign Fisher to a one-year deal.
In 43 games this season, Fisher averages 8.7 points per game on 40 percent shooting from the floor.
Fisher has made 13 trips to the postseason and posted averages of 8.9 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 209 career playoff games.
The Arkansas-Little Rock product is currently one of ten active players to tally 10,000 career points, 3,500 assist and 1,200 steals.
Fisher was drafted in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft as the 24th overall player by the Lakers.
"We are hopeful that he will enhance what we are doing here in Oklahoma City and I think that he will have an impact both on the floor and also in the overall and collective development of our team and our roster and we are excited to have him as a part of our community and apart of the Thunder," said Presti.