Do you hear that?
It’s the deafening silence of NBA basketball, a sound that will likely be heard throughout the dying ’11-12 NBA season.
By not coming to an agreement on the details of a new CBA, both the players and the owners unintentionally came to an agreement on one thing: Launching the nuclear option, a worst-case-scenario for all parties involved, and the possible end to any hope of NBA basketball this season.
Earlier this afternoon in New York, the NBPA officially (and unanimously) rejected the NBA’s latest offer. They followed up their dismissal by serving the NBA with a “disclaimer of interest”, a legal move that essentially disbands the players union and allows the individual players to file lawsuits against the NBA. While it serves many of the same purposes a complete decertification would, this measure has three distinct differences:
- It eliminates the 45-day waiting period that would be mandatory for a decertification vote.
- It is less final, and would allow the players to come back together as a union rather quickly.
- Negotiating between the two sides can (and probably will) continue while lawsuits are pending.
Following the announcement, both union executive director Billy Hunter and NBA commissioner David Stern painted a dismal picture:
“We’ve arrived at the conclusion that the collective bargaining process has completely broken down.” – Hunter
“There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement, but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy. Obviously, Mr. Kessler got his way and we are about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA.” – Stern
NBPA president Derek Fisher –with Kobe Bryant and dozens of his fellow players behind him – remained confident in the union’s decision:
“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.”
The next steps for each side are as mysterious as the reasons why a deal wasn’t made in the last 137 days. Whatever those reasons are – be it pride, money, or just flat out foolishness (or all of the above) – barring a willingness from either side to concede their current positions, much of the next several weeks (and possibly months) will be played out in a court, rather than on a court.
Welcome to the Nuclear Winter, Laker Nation.
It’s awfully cold in here.