Derek Fisher juggling labor negotiations and training
There Derek Fisher stood in the Lakers' practice facility hoisting jumpers and practicing free-throws.
On the surface, it seemed to be an ordinary routine. In reality, it signified a much more pleasant scenario than what's consumed him this off-season. Instead of wearing his practice jersey Friday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo, Fisher has mostly spent this summer in New York in suits negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement as the National Basketball Players Association president.
The new labor deal isn't expected to be ratified until sometime next week. Fisher joked about the lacking sense of finality when he and Coach Mike Brown talked across the court. Brown put a finger to his lips, alluding to the team's restrictions to speaking with players before the NBA lockout formally ends. In turn, Fisher remarked he doesn't want to say anything with several cameras focused on him. With Fisher conceding the negotiating process has proved to be an "exhausting ordeal," he clearly sees the finish line.
"It's nice to get back into this particular gym and thinking about basketball again," he said. "But until it's done, it's not done. But I'm looking forward to starting camp next week."
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said, "I don't worry too much about Derek" and his conditioning level. Brown called Fisher "one tough of a gun." But it's indisputable that Fisher will face more uncertainties in the next few weeks beyond labor negotiations and fitting in time to train. With Brown featuring a more traditional offense than the triangle, it's possible Fisher's role could diminish. When asked whether he envisions Fisher remaining the starter, Brown simply said, "Possibly. When we get to camp and everything shakes out, I'll have a better feel."
But for now, Fisher will soon put basketball matters aside and return to New York sometime next week to continue negotiations.
"I've always worked hard at everything I've done," Fisher said. "That's no more different than this time. It's a little more challenging approach to things. But I found a way to get it done."
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