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Kobe Bryant questions NBPA for asking Derek Fisher to resign

April 21, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Kobe Bryant, left, wonders why the players union executive committee has asked for Derek Fisher's resignation as president after rejecting an audit
Kobe Bryant, left, wonders why the players union executive committee has… (Paul Buck / EPA / March 29,…)

Within a one-month span, Derek Fisher found out that both the Lakers' front office and the executive board of the National Basketball Players Assn. don't want him around.

The Lakers traded Fisher last month to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill, partly to pave the way for Ramon Sessions' arrival as the team's starting point guard as well as to free up the payroll from Fisher's $3.4 million salary next season.

This week, the executive board for the NBPA voted 8-0 that it had lost confidence in Fisher's ability to lead and asked for his resignation as the union president. This came shortly after Fisher, as first reported by Yahoo! Sports, called for an independent review of the union’s business and financial practices under executive director Billy Hunter.

That left Lakers guard Kobe Bryant skeptical about the executive board's intentions behind the request for Fisher to resign, something Fisher has rejected.

"What's wrong with doing an audit? I'm very curious about that," Bryant said after Saturday's practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "My first thought is the focus on this audit. That's my first reaction."

The latest episode surrounding Fisher has marked an otherwise frustrating season both with his role in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement and his on-court performance.

Fisher and Hunter faced mounting criticism, numerous reports indicated, from agents and players who believed they conceded too much to owners during the labor talks. Signs of a rift between Fisher and Hunter surfaced after Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock reported Fisher had been privately negotiating with NBA Commissioner David Stern for a new CBA believed to be heavily tilted in the owners' favor, an allegation Fisher has strongly disputed.

"With Derek, if guys don't want him in there, there's really not much you can do about that," Bryant said. "But every organization does an audit every now and then. I don't see anything wrong with doing an independent audit. It's not that big of a deal just to get it done."

Steve Blake, who is the the Lakers' player representative, said that if a vote is taken he would support Fisher.

"Derek was a great leader for our team and he's a great leader for our players' association," said Blake, who served as Fisher's backup for the last 1 1/2 seasons.  "Anybody who knows him would be with him 100%. He has great character and is about the best teammate you can have. In the year and a half I've known him, I have complete faith in him."



Fisher faces other issues on the court.

After averaging only 5.9 points on 38.3% shooting in 25.6 minutes through 43 games as the Lakers' starting point guard, Fisher negotiated a buyout with Houston after the trade and then signed wtih the Oklahoma City Thunder. He's taken a bench role and has averaged a career-low 4.3 points on 30.3% shooting through 17 games.

The Lakers supported him during his on-court struggles by touting the experience that led to clutch shots, locker-room clout and a share of five NBA championships.

"There's a lot of positives Derek Fisher stands for," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "You just hope that whatever he's going through turns out best for him and his family. "




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Kobe Bryant questions NBPA for asking Derek Fisher to resign

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