HANGTIME SOUTHWEST — Derek Fisher, signed by the Dallas Mavericks just after Thanksgiving, didn’t make it to Christmas.
The Mavs announced Saturday that they waived the 38-year-old point guard just two days after he strained his right patellar tendon. The knee injury, which the team did not believe to be serious, is not the reason the team let him go. Fisher, who instantly took over as the starting point guard ahead of Darren Collison, asked to be released to return to his family in Los Angeles.
A league source said that when Fisher signed with Dallas in late November, he had a handshake agreement with Mavs owner Mark Cuban that he would be granted his release if Fisher deemed it necessary due to his family situation. The personal family reason for Fisher’s departure is not clear.
While playing for the Utah Jazz in 2007, Fisher’s infant daughter Tatum suffered from retinoblastoma, a childhood cancer of the eye. Fisher’s journey from a New York hospital, where Tatum had a tumor removed, to Salt Lake City to return for a playoff game, was well-chronicled and became the heartwarming story of the postseason.
When Fisher completed his first practice with the Mavs on Nov. 30, he did not sound like a man with concerns that could drag him away from a 17th season after he was not signed by a team during the offseason.
“I told the guys today, ‘This is not a pit stop. This is not kind of the final whatever before I decide to retire soon,’ ” Fisher said. “I’m here to give everything I have to help this team right now and continue to build as we go through this season.”
On Saturday, Fisher issued a statement that said the knee injury will keep him out at approximately two weeks and coupled with the “the difficulty I have been having being away from my family, I have asked the organization to waive me so I can return home.”
Fisher praised Cuban for his support and for granting his release. He also thanked coach Rick Carlisle and his Mavs teammates: “I have made decisions in the past, leaving money and opportunity on the table, and I will need to do that again. My family is my priority and that is where I choose to be. I won’t close the possibility that I will play again, however for now my family and being close to them remains the priority.”
It leaves the Mavs where they were 14 games into the season when Carlisle opted to bench Collison and the Mavs decided to sign Fisher. The Mavs were 7-7 at the time and now stand at 12-15 entering Sunday’s game at San Antonio.
Dallas waived Delonte West prior to the season and have used Dominique Jones behind Collison. Roddy Beaubois, once considered a point guard of the future, has mostly been buried at the end of the bench.
The Mavs have had a revolving door since West’s release. They’ve signed and then subsequently released Eddy Curry, Troy Murphy and Fisher.
To fill Fisher’s roster spot, the Mavs will sign D-League Texas Legends guard Chris Douglas-Roberts. He will be in uniform at San Antonio. The 6-foot-7 Roberts has averaged 22.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 11 games. He is being re-called over first-round draft pick Jared Cunningham.