NBA Lockout: Why Derek Fisher Makes Negotiations More Entertaining

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20:  Derek Fisher, President of the National Basketball Players Association speaks at a press conference after NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on October 20, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

When members of the NBA Players Association's executive committee meet tomorrow, they won't be meeting to discuss a replacement for Derek Fisher.

And thank goodness for that. From ESPN:

In a letter sent Tuesday night to NBA players and obtained by ESPN.com, Hunter wrote: "Contrary to what is being said in the media, Derek, myself and the Negotiating Committee are of one accord. Derek is a fearless defender of player rights both at the bargaining table and behind the scenes, and he carries out his duties as President with the same degree of courage, focus and tenacity that he has exhibited on the court as a five-time champion. We are all well served to have Derek in a leadership capacity during these negotiations."

In an NBA lockout that has been so boring we've been reduced to talking about pickup games and players trying their hands at flag football, the Derek Fisher talk over the past few days has been wildly entertaining.

It all started when Jason Whitlock reportered the following:

The belief that NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher has been co-opted by commissioner David Stern — and promised the commish he could deliver the union at 50-50 — caused NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and at least one member of the union’s executive committee to confront Fisher on Friday morning and make him reassess his 50-50 push, a source familiar with the negotiations told FOXSports.com Friday afternoon.

Fisher responded with the following:

“Usually I wouldn't even dignify absurd media reports with a comment,” Fisher wrote in an email sent to players Monday evening. “But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, 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. 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.

Honestly, has there been anything entertaining about the lockout besides this exchange? It has controversy, conspiracy, questions about loyalty and scandal written all over it.

In an NBA season that was carried by one amazing storyline—everyone hates the new villains of the NBA, Miami Thrice—this was the sort of juicy material we needed from an NBA Lockout that is more than likely to cost fans a season this year.

It was in 2004 that Derek Fisher beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals with only 0.4 seconds on the clock. His followed a miraculous shot by Tim Duncan. For there to be a season this year, Fisher may need to respond with a similar feat.

And without him, we wouldn't have any entertainment to begin with.

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