The Associated Press reports Derek Fisher of the Oklahoma City Thunder is being called on to resign as the president of the NBA Player's Association. Despite an 8-0 vote of no confidence by the union's executive committee, Fisher says he has no plans to resign. Apparently there is some kind of dispute between Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter.
This kind of distraction isn't good for basketball, and certainly not the best timing for the Thunder. OKC is still locked in a battle to win the top seed in the Western Conference. The super-hot San Antonio Spurs and Thunder will compete for the top slot down to the last game of the regular season.
Fisher hasn't played well over the past week since the story of a rift in the player's union leadership broke. His last good game was 14 points on April 13 against the Sacramento Kings. Since then, Fisher scored 14 points over four games and hasn't shot above 25 percent.
Fisher had slumps earlier this season, but I attributed his lack of play to adjusting to a new system after coming over from the Los Angeles Lakers. A lack of scoring may also be because recent games have been on the road.
Still, I wonder if this union stuff is becoming a distraction to his play.. The executive committee complained Fisher "engaged in conduct detrimental to the union, including acting in contravention of the players' best interests..."
Have NBA players had buyer's remorse? That I don't understand. Yes, the compact schedule has injured a lot of players. Teams are tired and worn out heading into the playoffs.
On the other hand, at least the NBA is playing at all. Perhaps Fisher remembered the last time there was a labor shortage and realized it wasn't pleasant. USA Today reports the last NBA lockout was in 1998 and 1999. Hunter was the union head back then. Fisher was a young player in his third year.
Over a decade ago, a last-minute proposal saved the season before the entire year would have been wiped out. Perhaps Fisher didn't want that to happen again.
As the NBA approaches the playoffs, Fisher and the union need to put this spat behind them. There is plenty of great basketball yet to played. Hopefully, the drama off the court won't affect Fisher's play in the postseason. Because of the compact season, Oklahoma City will need all the help it can get to try to bring a championship home.
William Browning has been a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder ever since the team relocated from Seattle. As the closest NBA team to Branson, Mo., the Thunder serve as the regional team for southwest Missouri.