Derek Fisher Defends Loyalty in Letter

In his latest letter to fellow players, union president Derek Fisher strongly denied a report published over the weekend that claimed union executive director Billy Hunter and another unnamed member of the union’s executive board have questioned Fisher about his relationship with NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver.

In Monday night’s letter, which was obtained by ESPN.com, Fisher responded to Friday’s report from FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock and suggestions that the union’s leadership is splintering by telling its members: “Usually I wouldn’t even dignify absurd media reports with a comment. But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you [that] my loyalty has and always will be with the players.

“Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history and what I stand for,” Fisher said. “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.”

A source told FoxSports.com that Fisher has been negotiating privately with Stern and Silver and promised the NBA’s top two officials that he could deliver the union’s signoff on a 50/50 split of annual revenue (known as basketball related income) in the next labor deal. According to the report, the concerns about Fisher’s allegiance to Stern and Silver are similar to criticisms faced by former union president Michael Curry in 2005 when the previous labor deal was negotiated. Curry soon began working for the NBA after that deal was completed.

With optimism spreading that a deal to save a full 82-game season was close late last week, negotiations abruptly collapsed Friday when the league refused to budge from its 50/50 BRI proposal and Hunter held firm at 52.5 percent.

Earlier Monday, Hunter told the Sports Business Journal: “My relationship with Derek is very good. There was no confrontation.”

Source: Marc Stien – ESPN.com

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