Last week, in a story about players who are ineligible to return to their old teams after being traded and waived, I looked extensively at Derek Fisher's eligibility to return to the Lakers. Because waived players can rejoin their old teams either a year after being traded or at the end of their contract (whichever comes first), Fisher's 2012/13 player option created some confusion. He was believed to have exercised the option before being bought out by the Rockets, meaning his contract wouldn't officially end until June 30th, 2013 and he wouldn't be able to re-sign with the Lakers until March 15th, 2013, the one-year anniversary of last March's trade.
However, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the league office has verified that Fisher can, in fact, return to the Lakers now. Sources tell Stein that Fisher was bought out by Houston before he exercised his option for 2012/13. As such, his contract is considered to have ended on June 30th of this year, making him eligible to re-sign with the Lakers from July 1st on.
We've heard so many conflicting stories about Fisher's eligibility at this point that it's hard to be 100% sure that Stein's account is accurate until we see the veteran point guard actually wearing a Lakers uniform. And of course, even if Fisher can re-sign with the team, there's no guarantee he will. At the moment, the Lakers still have an excess of point guards, which is why the club is reportedly shopping Chris Duhon and Steve Blake.
According to Stein, Fisher could very well jump at the next palatable offer he receives from one of the league's other 29 teams, but there's still some level of interest from both Fisher and the Lakers in a reunion.