But the job isn't all about speechmaking: During the past season Fisher invested hours each day in reading reports, studying numbers and participating in conference calls, sometimes while on board the team bus. He routinely communicates with players around the league on subjects ranging from the CBA negotiations to the outcome of fines and suspensions. "Guys want to know everything—everything," says Fisher.
By the end of the month Hunter is hoping to receive a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board that could result in an injunction against the lockout. If that complaint should fail and no headway can be made in negotiations, the executive director says the union will strongly consider decertification. He says the union may reach that decision before January—when the 1998--99 lockout was solved in time to allow a 50-game season—and that it may also encourage a group of players to file a lawsuit against the NBA, even though such a move could take time to be resolved in the courts.
At this stage the best hope of saving the season depends on continuing a dialogue that leads to a shared understanding. This is where Fisher's strengths come into play. Can a single player make the difference in time to launch a full season in late October? For Derek Fisher the next three months may feel like less time than 0.4 of a second. But at least the ball is in the right hands.
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