Derek Fisher Denies Being in the Pocket of NBA Owners

Fisher felt compelled to let players know who's side he is on after a story surfaced questioning his relationship with commissioner David Stern.

Posted: 11/01/2011 12:23 PM EDT
Filed Under NBA lockout

Derek Fisher denies siding up with NBA owners

In light of recent press, National Basketball Player's Association president Derek Fisher is feeling the need to express his loyalty to all of his constituents.

 

He was compelled to do so after a Foxsports.com report accused Fisher of being in the pocket of NBA Commissioner David Stern, going so far as to allude that Fisher could possibly have brokered a side deal with Stern if he can get the players to accept the 50-50 basketball-related income revenue split.

 

"Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history and what I stand for," Fisher said in a letter sent to players on Monday that was also released to several media outlets. "And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question? The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close. We are united in serving you and presenting the best options and getting everyone back to work."

 

Foxsports, citing a source close to the situation, said that union executive director Billy Hunter and at least one person on the executive committee have grown weary of Fisher’s chummy relationship with Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver.

 

Apparently, Fisher is in favor of a 50-50 revenue split, while Hunter believes the lowest the players should go is a 52-48 revenue split. That difference is why negotiations to end the four-month old lockout broke down again Friday.

 

There are no new negotiating sessions scheduled and Stern has already announced that two additional weeks of the schedule this month are cancelled, meaning the earliest the season could begin at this point is December.

 

Fisher went out of his way in the letter to let the players know he is on their side and that he is against the owners’ 50-50 take-it-or-leave-it proposal.

 

"Interesting times right now,” Fisher wrote. “The clock is ticking and we are aware that games are being lost, our jobs are on the line as are those of all the arena workers and business owners impacted by the lockout. ... My goal [and] the Executive Committee's ONLY goal is to present you with the most fair deal possible. A deal that is both fair on system and BRI [Basketball Related Income]. One isn't more important than the other. They are both extremely impactful to our business, our sport and our day to day life in the league."

 

"The NBA and the owners have not allowed us to go back to work. So they have essentially turned their backs on not only the players, but the fans that have made them billions. I hope they decide to change that. It's the only way everyone wins."

 

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

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