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Derek Fisher urges unity in letter to players

September 26, 2011 |  6:33 pm

Derek Fisher

A weekend after the NBA postponed training camp and 43 exhibition games, Lakers guard and NBA Players Assn. President Derek Fisher wrote in a letter sent to players Monday about the need to stay united during a prolonged lockout. He also argued the league's players "drive this game" and there remains a "divide" among owners that could lead to a favorable collective bargaining agreement.

The letter, obtained and first reported by's Marc Stein, stated NBA owners remain divided over revenue sharing and that part of the delay in crafting a new agreement points toward their internal disagreements. For that reason, Fisher maintained, "we can't sell ourselves short for instant gratification."

"It is my belief that if they can get us to be short-sighted and agree to an unfair deal they won't have to share more revenue amongst themselves," Fisher wrote. "They will have gotten what they need from us. We can't allow that to happen guys. Not under any circumstances."

Fisher made a similar case in a letter to the union's membership last week about the league's owners remaining divided over revenue sharing and also questioning high-profile agents who have proposed that the union decertify. Even though decertification allows players to sue the NBA under antitrust laws and possibly secure an injunction to end the lockout, it's possible the move would also lead to an expensive and drawn out legal case. Fisher maintained the union should take a hard-line stance against a fixed cap. 

"There are a number of team owners that will not lose the season over the hard cap system," Fisher wrote. "We've been clear from Day 1 of this process that we cannot sign off on a deal that attempts in any way to include a hard salary cap for our teams. That has not changed. Unless you, the group we represent, tell us otherwise, we are prepared to hold the line for as long as it takes to preserve the system we've worked so hard to build."


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Photo credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press