The players rejected the owners’ latest proposal and have decided to exercise their nuclear option.
On Monday, November 14, about one hour before announcing it to the world, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) served the NBA with a disclaimer of interest. This means that the NBPA is now a trade association and is no longer the negotiating agent for NBA players.
The collective bargaining process has completely broken down.
“After two years of making an effort, we concluded that the process has not worked,” former union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers said. “We cannot get a fair deal.”
Billy Hunter, former executive director of the union, said: “We’ve given and given and given, and they [the owners] got to the place where they just reached for too much and the players decided to push back.”
Now the players will take the fight to the courts and seek some fairness there. Within the next day or so, the players are expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against the league. Attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and David Boies–who sat on opposite sides of the table in the NFL labor dispute earlier this year–will represent the players.
“It’s just a big charade,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said of the NBPA’s action. “To do it now, the union is ratcheting it up I guess to see if they can scare the NBA owners or something. That’s not happening,” he added.
I do not know whether the owners are scared or not, but the NBA’s decision to publicly push the positives of its offer on Sunday, November 13, suggests that the league is at least concerned.
Stern and NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver hosted a 90-minute twitter chat. The league also posted a PowerPoint presentation on YouTube explaining their side of the key points. Additionally, Stern sent a memo directly to NBA players urging them to accept the owners’ proposal.
The NBA’s last minute efforts coupled with its threat that the offer on the table was the best the players would get were not enough to convince the players to accept the owners’ deal.
After more than two years of talks, the NBA and NBPA have been unable to come to an agreement. Now the NBA lockout his heading to the courts and, as a result, both the owners and players face a world of uncertainty.
The NBA presented the players with a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum. And understanding the risks involved, the players chose to leave it.
“We understand the consequences of potentially missing the season; we understand the consequences that players could potentially face if things don’t go our way, but it’s a risk worth taking,” former union vice president Maurice Evans of the Washington Wizards said. “It’s the right move to do.”
With treble damages possible in antitrust lawsuits, it may eventually wind up being the right move for the players. But it is a move that makes it highly likely that NBA fans will miss out on the entire 2011-2012 NBA season.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has more than 100 articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings on RandomNBAFan.com.
More on the NBA Lockout:
NBA Lockout Ball is Now in the Players’ Hands: Fan’s Take
NBA and NBPA Need to Negotiate, Not Just Talk: Fan’s Take
NBA Lockout: Is a Deal Imminent? Fan’s Outlook
NBA Lockout Continues, More Cancellations Likely: One Fan’s Take
NBA Lockout Continues Despite Constructive Mediation: Fan’s Take
Information from ESPN.com’s Where NBA labor battle goes from here and Yahoo! Sports’ Players reject NBA’s offer, begin to disband union was used for this article.