OKLAHOMA CITY — Given their desperation with winning a ring, you wonder why the Heat turned down the chance to add a player with five.
Derek Fisher is with the Thunder now, and in a weird coincidence, could play a considerable role in preventing Miami from winning a title for the second straight season. Fisher and the Heat had eyes for each other in the past, and when he was waived a few months ago by the Rockets, who got him in a trade with the Lakers, the opportunity finally presented itself.
So what happened?
“It just wasn’t the right fit for me,” Fisher said.
Actually, the Heat never chased him hard enough. After giving thought to the the idea of bringing Fisher aboard, Heat president Pat Riley decided to stick instead with Norris Cole as the primary backup to Mario Chalmers. Who would you rather have in a championship setting, a rookie or a guy with as many rings as Kobe Bryant?
“Pat’s a straight shooter,” said Fisher. “He let (me) know they were looking for a big guy, and that they were happy with Norris Cole and Chalmers. So me and my people continued to look at other options and it led me here.”
Cole had a promising first few weeks this season, then dropped off the map (and out of the rotation) by the All-Star break. Fisher struggled mightily with the Lakers this season, shooting 25 percent at one point and looking too slow against younger point guards, leading many to believe that after 15 years, he had little to nothing left. Plus, his 18-game regular season with the Thunder was nothing special; he shot 31 percent in 19 minutes a night.
But his value was felt in other ways (leadership, etc.) in the post-season for a team that had never reached the Finals until now. When the playoffs began, Fisher found himself on the floor in big spots, where he was comfortable, and produced. He had 13 points in 23 minutes in one game against the Spurs, then scored nine in the clincher. Fisher’s play has been steady enough to where he’s getting almost 20 minutes a game in the playoffs and is OKC”s seventh man.
Even now, Fisher is willing to take a big shot, which can only help a team in crunch time. At least in that respect, Miami’s loss is OKC’s gain.
“I’m extremely happy with my decision,” he said. “This is a better fit for me.”