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LOS ANGELES -- After spending the last several seasons juggling his responsibilities as starting point guard on the Los Angeles Lakers and president of the National Basketball Players Association, Derek Fisher has gotten used to the feeling of wishing he could be in two places at once.
This week Fisher, the president, will supersede Fisher, the player, as he will be in New York for collective bargaining agreement meetings on Tuesday rather than be in Las Vegas to play in organized games against other NBA players. Despite being listed on one of the rosters for the Impact Basketball Academy's "Competitive Training Series" that is set to begin Monday in Las Vegas, Fisher will not be able to participate because of his responsibilities as NBPA president, according to a source close to the 37-year old guard.
The source said the 16-year veteran supports the efforts of longtime NBA trainer Joe Abunassar in organizing the camp and allowed for the "remote possibility" of Fisher making an appearance sometime during its 12-day run but emphasized that Fisher has no plans to arrive in Las Vegas with the purpose of playing in Thursday's games as Impact's website reports.
Fisher is included on a roster along with Lakers backup big man Derrick Caracter and former Lakers guard Coby Karl, as well as Denver's Al Harrington, Milwaukee's Stephen Jackson and Memphis' Tony Allen, among others.
Fisher is choosing to concentrate his efforts on Tuesday's CBA negotiations that promise to be the most important to occur between the two sides since the lockout began on July 1. Last week Fisher participated in meetings on consecutive days between a limited number of representatives from the union and owners' sides. Tuesday's meeting will involve more players and owners.
"At some point, before you can try and make any attempt at any large progress, you have to involve all the respective members that are ultimately going to make the decisions, so we felt it was best to try to do that at this time, and Tuesday we'll give (it) a shot," Fisher told reporters last week.
Fisher also said that he planned on going to Las Vegas on Thursday to update the 40-60 NBA players that are expected to be playing at Impact on any progress made between the two sides in New York.
While both sides continue to hammer out their differences when it comes to the issues such as the length of guaranteed contracts and a fair basketball-related income split, one area they see eye-to-eye on is preventing any leaks from the negotiating table from reaching the press.
On Monday, Fisher disputed a SI.com report that he had reached out to numerous players via text message last week to indicate the sides are moving closer to a resolution and remind the players to stay in shape in case the season started on time.
"While the reports of my texts are false, I will say that I have & will continue to urge our players to stay ready for a season," Fisher tweeted.
He then added in a subsequent tweet, "We want to go back to work."
The source close to Fisher reiterated that he did not send out a mass text message last week and what he has told players when he does speak to them has remained consistent.
"Derek's tone throughout the season leading up to the lockout and during the lockout hasn't changed," said the source. "He says, 'Be ready.' He's working out. They're professional athletes, that's what they should be doing too."Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.