Thunder’s Derek Fisher Undecided About Retirement

Derek Fisher says his heart is still into playing basketball but he's also "realistic about knowing I can't do this forever." Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Derek Fisher says his heart is still into playing basketball but he’s also “realistic about knowing I can’t do this forever.”
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Thunder guard Derek Fisher said Sunday he remains undecided about retirement and plans to take time over the coming weeks to make a decision on his future.

“It’s not that many hours since postgame at this point,” Fisher said during the team’s exit interviews. “I’m still struggling with the results of last night. I haven’t got a chance to talk to my wife and kind of step back emotionally from the end of the season. That’s important to do, so that whatever is next, there has to be a separation from the end of the season and what just happened and then I can go from there.”

With coaching vacancies on the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, Fisher might have opportunities with either team, especially considering his connection to each. He played for the Lakers for 13 seasons, most of them under Phil Jackson, who is now president of the Knicks.

“There’s for sure huge layers added to [the decision],” Fisher said. “The personal relationship and professional relationship that I’ve had with Phil Jackson over the years, and being in the position that he’s in. And also, with the Lakers having an opening, it for sure adds layers to it. But like other important decisions in life, I don’t think you can be driven by what’s going on externally. You have to have an internal set of boundaries and just kind of a compass that you make decisions by. I’ll combine all those things as I try and make the best decision possible.”

On Friday, Jackson said Fisher is “a person that’s on my list of guys that could be very good candidate for this job.”

In the closing moments of Game 6, in which the Thunder were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs, Fisher took extra time to exit the floor, later saying he wanted to understand and appreciate the moment, knowing it could be his last on the floor in his 18-year career. After signing a one-year deal last July, Fisher announced via Instagram that this would be his final season, but has since wavered a bit, seeming to consider a return.

“If you watched the game last night, you know my heart is definitely still in it,” he said. “But I’m also realistic about knowing I can’t do this forever, even if I’m physically capable of still going it.”

Fisher, 39, played 33 minutes Saturday night for the Thunder, including virtually the entire fourth quarter and overtime. But he said Sunday he’s fully aware that he needs an exit strategy, something he’s been thinking of for a while.

“For years, I’ve obviously thought about one day I won’t be able to play, and there will be a next,” he said. “There will be something next. And maybe that time is here.”

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Royce Young

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