derek fisher

Derek Fisher denied a rift in union leadership in a letter to NBA players Monday, telling them there have been “no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close” with league officials.

A story Saturday on Foxsports.com titled “Is Fisher in Stern’s pocket?” said there was a disagreement between Fisher and players’ association executive director Billy Hunter and that the Lakers guard had promised NBA Commissioner David Stern that he could deliver a deal with a 50-50 split in basketball-related income.

The story said Hunter confronted Fisher last Friday, the day talks with the league broke down and led to the cancellation of the entire November schedule.

“Usually I wouldn’t even dignify absurd media reports with a comment.

But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, my loyalty has and always will be with the players,” Fisher wrote in the letter, obtained by The Associated Press and other media outlets. “Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history, and what I stand for.

“And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question. The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close. We are united in serving you and presenting the best options and getting everyone back to work.”

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press