Derek Fisher: Rift among owners

Before the NBA’s owners and players’returned to their respective corners on Thursday — the owners in Dallas, the players in Las Vegas — to regroup following Tuesday’s negotiating session that ended with the lockout still very much intact, president Derek Fisher sent out an email to his colleagues asking for solidarity.

The email, first printed by, challenges the faction of player agents who wish to decertify and it also hints that there may be some division growing between the league’s 29 owners.

"The most recent meetings in New York were effective," Fisher wrote. "What you have been told by your agents, representatives and the media is probably speculative and inaccurate."What actually happened in those meetings was discussion,
brainstorming and a sharing of options by both sides. The turning point
this past Tuesday was not a disagreement between the players and the
owners. It was actually a fundamental divide between the owners
internally. They could not agree with each other on specific points of
the deal and therefore it caused conflict within the league and its
owners."Sources confirm to ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that there were disagreements among owners. Owners
and players initially found reason for optimism during Tuesday’s
meetings. Commissioner David Stern and Peter Holt, the head of the
owners’ executive committee, felt that the players’ proposal to take 52
or 53 percent of basketball-related income, compared to 57 under the
previous agreement, was basically fair, sources said.Owners were
seriously considering coming off of their demand for a salary freeze and
would allow players’ future earnings to be tied into the league’s
revenue growth, a critical point for players. The owners also were
willing to allow the players to maintain their current salaries, without
rollbacks, sources said.But when the owners left the players to
meet among themselves for around three hours, Cleveland’s Dan Gilbert
and Phoenix’s Robert Sarver expressed their dissatisfaction with many of
the points, sources said. The sources said that the Knicks’ James Dolan
and the Lakers’ Jerry Buss were visibly annoyed by the hardline demands
of Gilbert and Sarver.

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