Fisher gets mid-level exception

While the Lakers got the most important member of their starting five back on Thursday, they also lost one of their clutchest playoff performers.

Point guard Derek Fisher has agreed to a six-year, $37 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein.

A Warriors spokesman said the deal hadn't been finalized, but
might be announced later Thursday night. Bartlestein expected the
paperwork to be signed late in the day.

Golden State's apparent decision is intriguing. Just last summer, the Warriors signed point guard Speedy Claxton to a multi-year deal and traded for point guard Nick Van Exel, who has two years and more than $24 million remaining on his contract. The Lakers, Heat, Rockets and Sonics also pursued Fisher during this offseason. Seattle reportedly pushed hard for Fisher after losing Brent Barry to the Spurs. Fisher, looking to re-establish himself as a starter, apparently crossed the Lakers off his list after Gary Payton announced he would return.

Fisher averaged 7.1 points and 2.3 assists a game for the Lakers last season in a reserve role behind Gary Payton, but hit a number of big shots for them in the postseason, including the dramatic buzzer-beating fadeaway that beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Fisher has spent his entire eight-year career with the Lakers after being selected 24th overall in the 1996 draft out of Arkansas-Little Rock. Prior to last season, he had averaged in double figures for the three previous seasons, with a career-high of 11.4 points in 2000-01 -- the second of the Lakers three consecutive championship seasons.