The lockout seems so long ago. We have not had to spend any late nights waiting for Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter to emerge from a hotel conference room and explain to us why we were not going to have basketball.
The negotiations were extremely contentious -- thus, our nearly losing the entire season -- and the fractures within the players union were becoming evident. There were several agents who reportedly were upset with the direction Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter were taking the union and seemed determined to end the union and pursue the more aggressive step of decertifying the union.
Everyone seemed to get what they wanted in the end -- a season and a system that seems pretty similar to the one we had before.
There were plenty dissatisfied. And the union is still picking up the pieces.
The drama picked up this week when Derek Fisher pushed union leadership to approve an internal audit of the union's finances. Billy Hunter killed the idea and got the rest of the executive committee to go with him. Fisher though is resolute and wants to continue this fight. And he seems to have some support within the union -- although maybe not on the executive committee.
Here is where the union politics come in.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Billy Hunter is urging the executive committee to seek Derek Fisher's resignation as the union's President. Fisher, much like with the internal audit, is gathering a coalition to fight Hunter's attempt to oust him and bring transparency to the union, according to Wojnarowski.
This conflict has apparently been building as Wojnarowski reports:
"This showdown has been building for months and escalated in the past week when Fisher initially convinced the executive committee to vote for an independent auditor to look into Hunter’s regime.
Nevertheless, Hunter helped to convince the eight members of the committee to change course and turn on Fisher. Hunter has been unpopular with many players and agents for his lockout strategies, which led to unprecedented givebacks in last summer's labor battle with the league."
What to make of this?
That is difficult to tell. The union seemed in disarray during the turning points within the negotiations. It was never really clear who was in control and there seemed to be discord in the ranks. That has carried over as factions seem to be forming.
What those factions are or what the reason for these fault lines in the union are completely unclear. It is not like the union is meeting all together like they did during the summer.
The review of the union's internal finances has torn the union apart it seems. According to Wojnarowski, Hunter believes the review is motivated by personal animus and was completely unnecessary. He has the executive committee buying that argument it would seem.
More details will surely emerge as this story develops. But the union is a mess. The lockout really tested their resolve as an organization and was as much their fault as it was the owners. It seemed they were not as clear on the stakes as the owners and let the owners shape the argument. Many players were upset and the negotiations seemed to flounder.
And what might be driving this is the typical revolving door that occurs in the NBA. Consider that former union vice president Adonal Foyle seems in line to become a future general manager for the Magic just three years after his retirement. A few people suspected that Fisher was angling himself for his future either with the league or with a front office.
That is pure speculation. There are probably a lot of factors going into this decision -- one of course is power and control.
Fisher has two years left in his appointment and Hunter has three years left on his contract. So hang on tight.
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