Derek Fisher, the president of the National Basketball Players Organization, recently sent a letter to his colleagues urging both his fellow players and the league to come together and solve their differences. Fisher, who is always articulate and very professional when he communicates with others, expressed his concerns and what he believed needed to be done to achieve a compromise.
To Each & Every Player,After the latest round of meetings, I thought it would be best to update you personally as to where the leadership of the National Basketball Players Association stands, where the negotiations stand where we are headed and the reasons why.
I'm not looking out just for the marquee guy, I'm looking out for the guy that dreams of being a professional basketball player and gets a minimum deal. I'm not just trying to protect the guy on a team in a huge market. I'm protecting the player that is in a small market with incredibly loyal fans.
I've made it clear, I want to play. You have each made it clear, you want to play. The fans have been unwavering, they want their basketball. The thousand of employees that work in the arenas, the ticket offices, the concession stands, they want a season. We all want to go back to work.
In the end, all that matters is an agreement is reached and for the league to resume play as soon as possible. Fisher continues...
The most recent meetings in New York were effective. What you have been told by your agents, representatives and the media is probably speculative and inaccurate.
What actually happened in those meetings was discussion, brainstorming and a sharing of options by both sides. The turning point this past Tuesday was not a disagreement between the players and the owners. It was actually a fundamental divide between the owners internally. They could not agree with each other on specific points of the deal and therefore it caused conflict within the league and its owners.
So it is our hope that today, Thursday, at the owners meeting in Dallas that they work out their differences, come up with a revenue sharing plan that will protect their teams and are then ready to come together and sign off on the agreement we as a smaller group deemed reasonable.
I work every day on these negotiations. I work so that each player from Blake Griffin to Tyler Hansbrough, Pau Gasol to De'Andre Jordan, Dwight Howard to Jrue Holiday, Taj Gibson to Danny Granger, Steve Nash to Luke Babbit and every single player get a fair and reasonable deal. Not just for this year, not just for next year but for years to come. So that the league that WE the players largely helped build, continues to grow and thrive.
While this may seem like a random selection of NBA players, as Sam Amick of SI.com explains, each of these players are represented by five different agents who are all pushing for decertification. No one wants the two sides to come to a fair agreement more than the players and, and in the end, all Fisher wants is for every player to be on the same page.
I dreamt of playing as a kid, the game I love so much. I'm a teammate, I'm a father, I'm a son, I'm a husband, I'm a brother, but right now, the role I must work so hard to honor is the one as PA President. And I ask each of you to stand with me, stand by me and urge the league and the owners to come together and allow the game of basketball to continue to grow and thrive. We're ready.
With a little bit of luck and a little bit of hope, the two sides will separate their differences and work diligently to secure a season in both 2011 and beyond. With a guy of Fisher's character, wit, and charisma, there is no better man for the job. Hopefully this letter urges every player to push harder for a resolution and the league is able to come to its senses and, most of all, do it in a timely manner.