Fisher to be released following NBA moratorium

By By Mandeep Gill

By Mandeep Gill

It turns out Derek Fisher’s first season with the Utah Jazz will also be his last.

The Jazz announced Monday night that they will be releasing Fisher from his contract, upon the veteran guard’s request. The reason, according to Fisher, rests solely in his concern for the health of his 11-month-old daughter, Tatum Fisher.

Tatum is suffering from a rare type of cancer, retinoblastoma. In pursuit of more specialized care near his in-season residence, Fisher is seeking a city that has premiere facilities for retinoblastoma. Only 350 cases of this rare type of cancer are diagnosed in North America each year.

“Life, for me, outweighs the game of basketball. When it comes to the decision related to (my family), I do what’s best,” Fisher said.

Members of the Jazz feel the same way.

“Derek has contributed greatly to the Utah Jazz organization and we are reluctant to see him go, but understand the importance of putting his family first,” said team owner Larry H. Miller.

The Jazz will miss Fisher’s leadership. In a trade that brought him to Salt Lake City from Golden State, Utah gained an experienced floor leader. Fisher won three championships as a key member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Although his statistics are not like those of the NBA’s most premiere guards, his leadership was unparalleled, especially in Utah’s recent run to the Western Conference Finals.

As for Fisher’s future, it is yet to be seen were he will land. Fisher is also not ruling out the possibility of retirement.

“I’ll be 33 in August. I’m 6’1. I averaged 10 points this year,” Fisher said. “I don’t know how many people feel strongly about what I do.”

Currently, Fisher is not allowed to reveal the NBA cities that have the kind of care Tatum requires. Because Tatum has been receiving treatment in New York, the Knicks and the New Jersey Nets are among the obvious teams Fisher would like to end up with.

Under the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement, teams are not allowed to trade or sign players until after July 11. Once that date has passed, the Jazz will be allowed to dissolve Fisher’s contract, which was to pay him $6.4 million next year and $20.6 million over the next three.


Derek Fisher