Well, things just got ugly in the NBA
Well, isn’t this a mess?
The NBA Players Association no longer exists, talks to solve the months-long lockout imposed by the league are over and the whole shebang is headed to the courts.
The law courts.
And that’s never a good thing.
Not only did the union reject the league’s latest offer on Monday, it has filed what’s known as a “disclaimer of interest” – effectively ceasing to exist as a union – and will throw the whole thing into the courts.
It is, by all accounts, a risky move that puts the entire 2011-12 season in serious jeopardy but also is the move of last resort by a union that grew tired of what it saw as threats and ultimatums from a league that’s been asking for take-backs since the talks on a new collective bargaining agreement began.
“Ugly” is how one NBA source put it minutes after the union announced its intentions after player representatives from all 30 teams met in New York.
The former union said it would file anti-trust legislation against the league in next couple of days. It has hired lawyer David Boies, who handled the Al Gore side of the U.S. presidential mess years ago, to help fight its battle.
Of course, in what amounts to a game of $4 billion chicken, this latest union salvo could work to spur even more negotiations. There is a window to not only resume talks to salvage a season and this now puts the pressure on the owners to respond. Commissioner David Stern had told multiple media outlets over the weekend that negotiations were “over” but until the first arguments are made in court, nothing is truly “over.”
“It’s never too late for David to call me,” said Billy Hunter, now the head of something called the NBA Players Trade Association, said Monday.
Whatever comes of it, these are uncharted waters for a league that generated about $4 billion in revenues last year.
No, the full membership of the union did not – and will not – get a chance to vote on what was allegedly the league’s final proposal. And, yes, this may not mean the absolute end of any chance at an abbreviated season but it is a mess. An ugly mess.