BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — JaVale McGee only acknowledged the inevitable Friday when the Washington Wizards center said a few NBA players are “ready to fold” in their contentious labor negotiations with the league.
McGee and union president Derek Fisher both believe far more players are sticking together and staying strong as they head into a crucial week for the league’s future.
Whatever Commissioner David Stern’s gut is telling him about next week’s meeting with a federal mediator, Fisher remains confident they can make a deal to save the season.
“My gut tells me that there’s no way Commissioner Stern and the NBA would damage their business by making us miss a whole season,” Fisher said Friday after a union meeting at the Beverly Hilton.
While Stern made another round of radio interviews postulating doom if a deal isn’t reached quickly, Fisher and union executive director Billy Hunter briefed a group of roughly 30 players on the state of negotiations.
McGee left the meeting early, but made the biggest headlines at the valet stand when he described frank conversations among the players.
“There’s definitely some guys in there saying that they’re ready to fold, but … the majority of guys are willing to stand strong,” he said.
In a tweet, McGee later denied he said the words recorded by more than a dozen reporters. Fisher laughed off the comment.
“The person that spent the least amount of time in the room has no ability to make that statement,” Fisher said.