Players ignored that warning, choosing instead to dissolve its union, giving them a chance to win several billion dollars in triple damages in an antitrust lawsuit.
By JAMES W. WADE III
It may not be a NBA Season this year. The NBA players have rejected the league's latest offer and are beginning the process of disbanding the union. The Associated Press reports the decision likely jeopardizes the season.
NBA players' union executive director Billy Hunter was scheduled on Monday to present to representatives from all 30 teams details of the league's latest proposal, which he termed last Thursday “not the greatest proposal in the world."
Mr. Hunter told the AP that the players' association is prepared to file an antitrust action against the NBA. That offers the best opportunity for "players (to) get their due process," he said.
The NBA said last week that if the players accepted the latest proposal, a condensed training camp would begin as soon as possible and a 72-game season would be scheduled.
Monday marked the 137th day of the lockout. Basketball players may not understand the terms some say. How do you work for someone and expect to make what they make. Monday on "SportsCenter," Commissioner David Stern said offer on the table was no ultimatum, but "a revised proposal which met many of their concerns."
"When you negotiate for 2½ years and finally get to where the parties are ... that's not an ultimatum. That's a proposal that's ready to be voted up or down," Stern said.
During oral arguments on Nov. 2, the NBA asked U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe to decide the legality of its lockout, but he was reluctant to wade into the league's labor mess. Gardephe has yet to issue a ruling.
Financially, both sides have lost hundreds of millions because of the games missed and the countless more that will be wiped out before play resumes. Team employees are losing money, and in some cases, jobs. And both the NBA and NBPA eventually must regain the loyalty of an angered fan base that wonders how the league reached this low point after such a strong 2010-11 season.
A lockout timeline to this point:
July 1: NBA owners lock out players in search of a better collective bargaining agreement; in previous deal, players took home 57% of basketball-related income
September: NBA cancels training camp, portion of preseason
Early October: NBA cancels entire preseason
Oct. 11: NBA cancels first two weeks of regular season
Oct. 28: NBA cancels entire month of November