Fisher cites timing, Carlisle for picking Dallas Mavericks

DALLAS -- Of all the teams that wanted to acquire him, Derek Fisher saw something unique about the Dallas Mavericks.

So unique that when Fisher finally had to make a decision, joining the Mavs was a no-brainer for the 16-year veteran.

"There were a handful of teams that I stayed in constant communication with over the last several months," Fisher said Friday. "But, the timing, the team, coach [Rick] Carlisle, I have a lot of respect for the way he's able to coach the game and put his teams in position to win.

"So there were a number of factors that led me to this decision right now at this time, and I'm excited about it. I told the guys today, this is not a pit stop, this is not kind of the final whatever before I decide to retire soon."

Fisher signed a one-year contract with the Mavs on Thursday in hopes of stabilizing the shaky point guard position.

He also hopes to help Darren Collison, Dominique Jones, Rodrigue Beaubois and Jared Cunningham with some of the nuances of the position.

Carlisle was more than pleased with what he saw form Fisher on Friday, and noted that he will receive some quality playing time when the Mavs (7-9) host the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 tonight.

"For a guy who's been sitting out, he's obviously been working hard and taking care of himself," Carlisle said. "It'll take a while to get game-right, but he did a good job today and he's going to help us.

"He's going to be involved, he's probably going to be our starting point guard. And we've got a great situation with him and Collison because we've got two really good players there and I see the real possibility that those guys could play together some, too."

Fisher said he is not in Dallas to steal Collison's job.

"Darren is an above average player," Fisher said. "He's as good as they come when you think about his age and the potential that he has to be one of the top point guards in this game.

"The point guard position is the premier position in our game now, and I think Darren is poised to get into that fraternity of five to 10 guys that everybody looks to to run their team and lead their team. And so it's just a matter of him continuing to grow, mature and develop whether I'm here or not. But now that I am here, part of being on a team is looking out for the guy next to you."

Carlisle said that it's way too early to predict how much playing time he will give to Fisher on a game-by-game basis.

"I don't know an exact number, but we'll see," Carlisle said. "Initially we'll watch him, and I don't want to get him out there for too long of stretches he can't handle.

"It'll be as needed, and I've got to look and see how he's doing. But I expect him, condition-wise, to get there sooner than later."

Fisher, 38, won five NBA titles while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, and he wants some more before he retires.

"I'm here to give everything I have to help this team right now and continue to build as we go through this season," Fisher said. "We want to be in the postseason. We don't want to go through this season and look back and feel like we could have done better."

Fisher, who played last season for Oklahoma City, wants to make sure the Mavs approach games with an aggressive attitude that they won't be denied.

"We're going to play hard, we're going to compete," Fisher said. "And really try to make my teammates better every way I can, on both ends of the floor.

"It's not about numbers, stats and analyzing everything from that perspective. It's really about finding ways to come together as a group and winning games. That's the bottom line and that's what I'm here trying to help do."

Dwain Price, 8170-390-7760

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