COMMENTARY | Five-time NBA champion and inspirational leader Derek Fisher could come back to the Los Angeles Lakers after being traded last season, according to ESPN's True Hoop network. A lot of Lakers fans would love to see D-Fish back in the purple in gold, but the fact is that he is not a productive point guard on the floor anymore.
Here are five reasons Fisher will not suit up for the Lakers again:1. Age
At 38 years old, Fisher is well beyond the prime of his career, and it's not feasible for the Lakers to bring him in, even with the intangibles he brings in terms of leadership. He's not a player who can help the Lakers on the floor, and he would be buried on the bench behind the team's primary backup point guard, whoever that ends up being.
One of the major issues with Fisher in recent years has been his inability to keep up with the other starting point guards in the Western Conference on the defensive end. Players like Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Tony Parker present a major matchup problem for Fisher, and he is a liability to get beat on the perimeter every time out. The numbers tell the story. He was on a steady decline in defensive win shares over the last three years, going from 2.5 in 2010-2011 to just to just 0.9 in 2011-2012.
3. Steve Nash
The Lakers needed to address their issues at point guard during the 2011-2012 season, and they did that when they acquired Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers. After letting Sessions walk following free agency, the team acquired Steve Nash and got a major upgrade from Fisher. The move to acquire Nash gives the team a more efficient player and two-time league MVP.
At age 37, Nash had a PER of 20.3 last season, which trumps the 8.8 mark Fisher put up in 43 games before he was traded out of L.A in 2011-2012. Even with limiting Nash's minutes, his backups are fully capable of surpassing that pedestrian production.
4. An improved bench
The only role for Fisher on the new-look Lakers would be as one of the last men on the bench and a de facto assistant coach. That being said, it would be a tall order for him to make an impact on the team. The Lakers signed Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks and have promising young players like Jordan Hill and Darius Johnson-Odom who can bring energy and scoring to the second unit.
After averaging just 21.3 points per game during the regular season a year ago, the bench is much-improved. They needed to get younger and more athletic, and they have. Fisher doesn't fit into that mold --his addition to the team would be a step in the wrong direction, despite his leadership.
5. League rules
Although there is a scenario in which Fisher could return to Los Angeles, it couldn't happen until March 15, 2013, one year after he was traded to and subsequently waived by the Houston Rockets, per NBA rules. Too many variables would have to fall into place for the Lakers to land him in the spring.
First, Fisher would have to hold out and not sign with any other team before that time, an unlikely development. Next, the Lakers would have to have a need for him, which would be even less likely. Despite Kobe Bryant's wish for Fisher to rejoin the Lakers, Los Angeles should be among the top teams in the Western Conference, and Fisher won't be on anyone's radar.
The bottom line
Fisher will always be a true Laker, no matter where he ends up finishing his playing days. At the end of it all, he will always be remembered for his incredible contributions to the franchise and for being a major component of five championships. No one can take that away from him or the fans that love him.
Bryant's reasoning for wanting him back as a teammate is valid -- they grew up together as 1996 draftees and won five titles together. But there is no reason for a reunion other than it being a nice story. When the Lakers are contending for titles in the postseason, Fisher will be an afterthought.
He'll never be forgotten, however.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers as a Southern California-based sports journalist, editor, and blogger. You can read him on SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor and Founder of Sports Out West.
You can follow Michael on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets