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Chris Paul trade: Derek Fisher kept hands-off approach

December 15, 2011 |  7:39 pm

The differing and sometimes conflicting allegiances made Derek Fisher's role as the players union president rather dicey.

Once the NBA nixed a three-team trade that would've sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, the NBA Players Association kept open the possibility it could file lawsuits against the league. After all, it had spent the past five months negotiating a new labor deal, partly that centered on a player's mobility in the open market. And the NBA, which owns the Hornets franchise, put itself in a compromising situation when it blocked the trade, citing "basketball reasons," despite numerous claims the Hornets' front office would always maintain independence.

Everything settled with the Clippers acquiring Paul in a trade that sent Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Faroug Aminu and a first-round pick originally acquired from Minnesota. But throughout the process, Fisher maintained a minimal role, and the reasons have nothing to do with the Lakers guard worrying Paul could steal his starting spot. Delegating to executive director Billy Hunter had everyhing to avoiding the perception Fisher was working on behalf of the Lakers. 

"I'm obviously up to breast on all of the situations," Fisher said. "But I try to in a sense remove myself from the details of a lot of individual player transacitons and situations."

Paul initially threatened to file a lawsuit against the NBA last week when it blocked the trade that would've sent him to the Lakers, Lamar Odom, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin to New Orleans and Pau Gasol to Houston. But Fisher said that Paul told the union to hold off on filing any lawsuits to avoid a lengthy litigation fight.

"It was really Chris' call to hold off to see if there was a solution that can be found," Fisher said. "I haven't spoken to Chris since the trade went down with the Clippers. But I'm assuming that he's okay with it and hopefully we will be able to move on."


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--Mark Medina

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