With talks between The National Basketball Players Association and the NBA completely broken down, players have decided to take the fight to a different kind of court. Today the NBPA served notice to the NBA that they plan to dissolve and pursue antitrust lawsuits against the league for the 137-day lockout essentially ending the possibility of a 2011-2012 season before it even starts.
According to NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter:
“The players feel they’re not prepared to accept any ultimatum. We think it’s extremely unfair to give (players the ultimatum) that they accept (the owners’) proposal or roll back to 47%” from a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. We have negotiated in good faith for over two years, but the players just felt they have given enough, that the NBA was not prepared to negotiate, that things were not going to get better.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern shot back saying that “The NBA has negotiated in good faith throughout the collective bargaining process,” and called this the “nuclear winter of the NBA.” Many players were outraged that the talks had come to this point and Los Angeles Laker/NBPA President Derek Fisher tried to sum up the majority of emotions with this statement:
“This is the best decision for the players. I want to reiterate that point, that a lot of individual players have a lot of things personally at stake in terms of their careers and where they stand. And right now they feel it’s important — we all feel it’s important to all our players, not just the ones in this room, but our entire group — that we not only try to get a deal done for today but for the body of NBA players that will come into this league over the next decade and beyond.”
Both sides seem to have their heels firmly dug into the ground so it’s unlikely that we’ll see a solution to this anytime soon.