EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Derek Fisher stood in front of the media wearing a tank top and shorts instead of a three-piece suit. He answered questions on a basketball court after shooting around for 15 minutes instead of a hotel lobby after negotiating with the league for 15 hours.
This was the Fisher we had waited to hear from for the past five months as he engaged in verbal sparring matches with NBA commissioner David Stern during the 149-day NBA lockout that looked like it would engulf the upcoming season.
For the first time since the owners locked the players out on July 1, Fisher was back at the Lakers practice facility, shooting around by himself and later with rookie point guard Darius Morris.
“It’s nice to get back into this particular gym and start thinking about basketball again,” Fisher said. “I’m looking forward to starting camp hopefully next week.”
Fisher looked relieved as he dribbled around the court and stopped for five minutes to a throng of media watching him go through routine drills he had practiced on his own at gyms in Los Angeles and New York in between negotiations.
“It was an exhausting ordeal but I’m just looking forward to getting to know Coach [Mike] Brown and getting to that point where as a team we are where we want to be,” Fisher said. “Those are things I’m really started to focus in on. It’ll obviously be a shortened season but one we’re going to look forward to just as other seasons to hopefully win a championship.”
As Fisher shot around, Brown walked onto the court and began walking up the stairs to Mitch Kupchak’s office. Before he went inside he yelled out to Fisher and pointed at him and Fisher turned around smiled and shushed his coach, knowing all too well the current rules prevent coaches or general managers from observing workouts.
“I didn’t see that. What are you talking about?” Fisher said when asked about his brief interaction with Brown. “I didn’t see a coach.”