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Fisher Re-Signs With Lakers


Spurning offers for more money elsewhere, Los Angeles guard Derek Fisher agreed to re-sign with his team Tuesday in a seven-year deal worth about $30 million.

Fisher, 24, who became a free agent after three years with the Lakers, made the announcement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he played college ball. He was expected to sign the contract within the next two days.

Fisher said he was closer to leaving the Lakers than some expected.

"I knew I'd go somewhere, but the last few days have been really tough on me," the 6-foot-1, 200-pound guard said. "I think the Lakers just thought I'd go to the highest bidder, which wasn't exactly right."

Fisher's signing puts to rest rumors that had Orlando Magic guard Penny Hardaway going to Los Angeles. Because of the supposed Lakers' interest, Fisher said it was difficult to plan his future.

"It's frightening because you don't know where you're going to spend the next six or seven year of your life," said Fisher, whose family accompanied him. "For a while, I wasn't sure if the Lakers wanted me around."

Seven other teams had shown interest in Fisher, said his agent, Elbert Crawford. Indiana, San Antonio and Indiana showed the most interest before Fisher finalized the contract with Los Angeles.

"There were offers out there for more money than I'm getting now," said Fisher, who was the 24th player picked in the 1996 NBA draft. In his final year at UALR, Fisher was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

Last year, Fisher averaged 5.9 points a game in 50 games 21 of which he started. Fisher was second on the team with 3.9 assists per game and 1.2 steals per game. During his career, Fisher has averaged 5.1 points and 3.1 assists a game.

His ability to distribute the basketball ultimately was the reason the free agent was able to sign with the Lakers, Fisher said. He wondered if Shaquille O'Neal had spoken with Lakers executive Jerry West.

"I hope the big fella (O'Neal) stepped up and said the right things to people," Fisher said. "I know they want me to keep getting him the ball, and I'm sure he wants it."

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