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Derek Fisher disagrees with LeBron James' endorsing league contraction

December 24, 2010 |  2:17 pm

Lakers guard and president of the National Basketball Players Assn. Derek Fisher expressed disagreement with LeBron James' recent suggestion that the NBA should contract teamsand "figure out one way where it can go back to the '80s where you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall of Famers on the same team."

"I agree that the '80s was a great time for NBA basketball," Fisher said Friday after practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "But I don't agree that contraction or arbitrarily trying to get Hall of Fame or All-Star guys all on the same team is necessarily how you re-create one of the greatest times in NBA history."

The NBA's league office, the league's 30 owners  and players union have a collective bargaining agreement that expires June 30, 2011, and commissioner David Stern said contracting teams might be necessary to offset the league's contended financial problems. James told reporters "[contraction] is not my job; I'm a player but that is why the league was so great.

"Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the [league]," James continued. "Looking at some of the teams that aren't that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren't that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good. Not saying let's take New Jersey and let's take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I'm not stupid, it would be great for the league."

Fisher shot down any suggestion that James' comments and the stature surrounding him undermines the players union's efforts. 

"I don't know if it necessarily hurts our cause," Fisher said. "It's surprising I would say maybe to a lot of people. I guess I'm a realist in that regard. Even in the past when guys have comments that have been deemed detrimental to the cause, it's unrealistic to think we have 500 people in one group and everybody is going to say the same thing and have the same responses to certain questions. I don't necessarily agree."

"I don't necessarily agree with them, but at the same time I understand and respect the fact that 460 opinions won't always be alike," Fisher added, estimating the number of players in the league. "I don't think it's my place to tell one of our guys what they should be thinking or feeling or saying, but I don't necessarily agree with it."

But with the Heat set to play the Lakers on Christmas Day, will Fisher say anything to James to bring up the subject matter before or after the game?

"I guess it depends if we win or lose," Fisher said. "The conversation will go a certain way based on that, I guess."

--Mark Medina