EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Following a lengthy practice session Saturday, members of the Los Angeles Lakers weighed in on the increasingly public spat Thunder guard and players association president Derek Fisher has found himself caught in the middle of.
With the association’s executive committee seeking to oust Fisher in his role as president, Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and Steve Blake both voiced support for their former teammate and his goals of hiring a law firm to conduct an independent audit to examine the union’s business practices.
“What’s wrong with doing an audit?” Bryant asked. “I’m very curious about that. Extremely. We all should be.”
Bryant went on to say that his primary focus is the audit rather than Fisher’s role.
“To be honest, my first thought is to focus on this audit,” Bryant said. “That’s my first reaction. The Derek thing, if guys don’t won’t him in there, you really can’t do too much about that. But as an organization, I mean every organization does an audit every now and then. I mean, I don’t see anything wrong with doing an independent audit. It’s not that big of a deal. Just get it done.”
Fisher has responded to the union’s request for him to step down by repeatedly saying he does not plan on resigning from the position. In a statement released Friday night, Fisher said he will continue to strive to protect the players in the union and added the executive committee’s “has now waged a personal character attack on me to divert attention from the real issue. The truth.”
Blake, the Lakers’ player representative, stood behind Fisher and stood up for his character.
“All I know is Derek’s a great guy,” Blake said. “I think he was a great leader for our team, and I think he’s a great leader for the players association.”
Blake then said he has “complete faith” in Fisher and was confident in Fisher’s leadership throughout last year’s collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
“Of course,” Fisher said. “Anybody that knows him would be with him 100 percent. He’s got great character…I’m going to support him, for sure. I don’t know all the details. But as of right now, I don’t have a reason to not support him.”
Lakers coach Mike Brown also vouched for Fisher’s character.
“He’s a great guy,” Brown said. “He’s a natural born leader and he’s done a lot, people would say, for L.A. and for the Lakers. But, really, he’s done a lot for the game. I think when people look at him and they see the type of character a guy like that has, it makes people want to draft and find the right types of players to add to your program.
“There are a lot of positives that Derek Fisher stands for, and you just hope that whatever he’s going through it turns out best for him and his family.”