Dangerous Legal Move for Derek Fisher to Rejoin NBA Labor Talks?

by November 25, 2011

Ever since NBA players sued the League and disbanded their union, the only people left to negotiate for both sides were lawyers. But now, Derek Fisher is said to be rejoining the talks this weekend, which could prove to be a risky legal move. From Yahoo! Sports: “[Derek Fisher’s] appearance in this week’s negotiations – along with that of several other key Players Association officials – figures to run the risk of validating the league’s charges that the disbanding of the union was a ‘sham’ negotiating tactic. Nevertheless, the belief that the end of the five-month lockout is within reach this weekend inspired Fisher to make the risky move to join the talks. Representatives of the owners and players spoke on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the possible settlement of the players’ recent antitrust lawsuits – which would essentially be an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. It is felt that Fisher’s appearance is needed to reach an agreement on a deal. Several high-ranking sources – on the league and players sides – believe there’s a do-or-die nature to getting a deal done to start the season on Dec. 25 and preserve a 66-game regular season. Once again, the Players Association will have familiar negotiating faces in the room with the owners’ representatives: Fisher, executive director Billy Hunter, staff lawyer Ron Klempner and antitrust suit lawyers. Some on the players’ side still fear Stern is setting up the players with these talks and will use the participation of key union figures to show the disbanding of the union wasn’t for the purpose of filing antitrust suit in court, but gaining leverage in negotiations. Fisher understood the consequences, but sources believe there’s so much motivation to reach an agreement to end the lockout he needed to join the negotiating sessions.”