Originally posted on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 3/20/12

The Derek Fisher rumor mill has started churning and it appears the soon-to-be free agent guard isn’t wasting any time finding a new home.

Fisher has agreed to a buyout with the Houston Rockets, which means he will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. Per league rules, he is then free to sign with any team in the NBA, other than the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers sent Fisher to Houston at the trade deadline and are therefore not allowed to re-sign him.

Reports are now suggesting that Fisher is close to a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder and that the two sides are in “advanced negotiations.” While a huge swath of the Lakers’ fanbase probably just went all face-palm, this was to be expected. I thought Fisher would either land in Miami or Oklahoma City, since both teams are likely the top contenders for an NBA championship.

The Thunder are currently the top team in the Western Conference with a 34-11, and have a four-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs. Obviously Russell Westbrook is the starting point guard for Oklahoma City, but with Eric Maynor out for the year with a torn ACL, Fisher will likely battle rookie Reggie Jackson for minutes off the bench.

But the 37-year-old veteran’s impact won’t come through playing time, it will come in the locker room and with his ability to hit big shots. The Thunder had to pursue him. With the respect he carries around the league there is no doubt he will be brought in to mentor Westbrook for the remainder of the season.

If anyone can teach the young point guard how to be a better teammate and the consummate professional it’s Fisher.

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Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

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