by Abe Schwadron / @abe_squad

Despite more meetings and mild optimism over the past week, the lockout has now gone over 70 days long, and according to Derek Fisher, nothing’s changed. From the NY Daily News:

When it comes to trying to figure out where NBA owners and players are in negotiations for a new deal, the one-time Knick and current players union VP Roger Mason Jr. apparently is no Perry Mason.

Mason’s contention that there will be an NBA season was challenged Thursday by Derek Fisher, president of the NBA Players Association, after owners and players met for close to six hours for a second straight day in Manhattan.

“Roger’s a very valuable member of our committee,” Fisher said. “I think he’s well-aware that we’re no closer to having a season today than we were at any other point. I think he’s clear on where we are now.”

Mason’s tweet on Wednesday – “looking like a season” – caused a bit of a stir since he did not attend that session or yesterday’s. Mason later claimed that someone had hacked his account.”

Ahh, the classic “my Twitter account was hacked” excuse. Either every NBA player’s password is “12345″ or these dudes need to stop lying.

That farce—and DFish’s apparent power to make benchwarmers like Mason shake in their Nikes—aside, this story is indicative of just how difficult it is to reel in 400 individuals for a common cause. The challenge in these talks, for leaders like Fisher, is keeping the players united, and keeping the outliers in line. Which is easier said than done, when even Roger Mason can mess up.