According to a report in the New York Times, after being deadlocked in labor negotiations, the National Basketball Players Association decided to disband on Monday, leaving the fate of 2011-2012 up to an entirely different kind of court.
“The players just felt that they had given enough, that the NBA was not willing or prepared to continue to negotiate,” Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBPA, said at Monday’s press conference alongside NBA players, adding, “Things were not going to get better.” As explained by the NYT, “Without a union, the players are now free to sue the NBA under antitrust laws and challenge the legality of the lockout.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern, who had to cancel all of the league’s games in November due to ongoing negotiation woes and had given the players a revised proposal, told ESPN’s Sportscenter, “It looks like the 2011-12 season is really in jeopardy. It’s just a big charade. To do it now, the union is ratcheting up, I guess, to see if they can scare the NBA owners or something. That’s not happening.”
Union vice president Maurice Evans said of rejecting Stern’s ultimatum, “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. It’s the right move to do.”