SAN ANTONIO -- Stressing the need to be closer to his family in Los Angeles, Derek Fisher asked the Dallas Mavericks to release him from his contract on Saturday, and they promptly obliged.
Fisher, 38, signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Mavs on Nov. 29. But after less than a month with Dallas, he apparently could no longer accept being away from his family.
Fisher released a statement about his request to be waived, saying: "In Tuesday's game against Philadelphia, I suffered an injury to my patellar tendon. The recovery time will be approximately two weeks.
"With this news and the difficulty I have been having being away from my family, I have asked the organization to waive me so I can return home."
Reached via email, Mavs owner Mark Cuban declined comment on Fisher's departure. But guard Dahntay Jones said he was taken aback by Fisher's request to be released.
"I'm surprised, saddened. I understand his plight, but it's a just a rough blow for us," Jones said. "He's someone we really needed in a lot of aspects. I knew how he felt about the situation because we spoke about it, but I didn't know the severity of the events. However, this situation did come out of the blue."
The Mavs, who visit the San Antonio Spurs tonight, will promote Chris Douglas-Roberts from the Texas Legends of the D-League to take Fisher's roster spot.
Fisher started and played in nine games for the Mavs, averaging 8.6 points and 3.6 assists in 25.4 minutes per contest. He also had become a respected voice inside the Mavs' locker room.
Fisher, however, hurt his knee against the Sixers Tuesday and was not expected back for perhaps another two weeks. The idle time gave the 17-year veteran more time to think about his family.
"Mark Cuban has been extremely supportive and has granted me this request," Fisher said. "I cannot say enough good things about this organization.
"... I have made decisions in the past, leaving money and opportunity on the table, and I will need to do that again."
Fisher was referring to what occurred when he was a member of the Utah Jazz. Utah acquired Fisher in a trade with the Golden State Warriors on July 12, 2006.
But on July 2, 2007, Fisher asked the Jazz to release him so he could concentrate on the continued treatment of his then-2-year-old daughter, who has a rare form of retinal eye cancer. The Jazz obliged and released Fisher, who still had three years and a guaranteed $21 million remaining on his contract.
With Fisher no longer with Dallas, Darren Collison, Dominique Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois are the remaining point guards on the Mavs' roster.
While Collison is averaging 30 minutes per game this season, Jones now will have an opportunity to get more minutes and elevate his game. While Fisher was sidelined before his release, Jones logged 26 minutes Thursday against Miami, scoring seven points and dishing out seven assists. He followed that performance Friday with a career-high 32 minutes against Memphis, scoring 13 points and seven assists.
"This is what I've been wanting to do for the longest," Jones said. "So when the opportunity presents itself I just got to go out there and play hard -- offense, defense and make guys better."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760