- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
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Fisher's preference remains to re-sign with the Lakers, but he feels the need to explore his options and listen to Riley's pitch after the Heat landed free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Miami also re-signed Dwyane Wade and were reportedly closing in on Mike Miller.
According to a source, negotiations between Fisher and the Lakers have remained positive and the team has put an offer on the table that was stronger than what's been previously reported (one year, $2.5 million). Fisher returned from a trip to China on Wednesday, but he's had several conversations with both Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Riley.
Earlier in the week, Lakers star Kobe Bryant expressed support for Fisher, who entered the NBA with him back in 1996.
"We need to have him back, it's as simple as that," Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin at his Kobe Bryant Skills Academy on the UC Santa Barbara campus. "It's not a question of if he will be back; it's a matter of when.
"I don't care what [the cost] is. ... They need to work that out and get him back because his significance to our ballclub and to me cannot be understated."
Last week, a source close to the negotiations told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher the Lakers are confident the point guard will return to the Lakers next season.
If Fisher signs elsewhere, Steve Blake, whom the team recently signed to a four-year, $16 million contract, would replace him in the starting lineup.
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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