NBPA executive director Billy Hunter (right), and NBPA president Derek Fischer (left) speak to reporters following a meeting with player representatives from all 30 teams in which they rejected an offer to the end the current lockout.
In a move that jeopardizes the NBA season, the NBA players union rejected the league’s latest offer and said it would begin the process to disband the union.
Labor talks “completely broke down,” said union Executive Director Billy Hunter. The union said it has begun legal proceedings to dissolve the union, a tactic that would take the dispute to the courts.
NBA Commissioner David Stern responded on ESPN: “We’re about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA.”
The decision came after a five-hour meeting among player representatives at a New York City hotel. Mr. Hunter said an anti-trust lawsuit should be filed in the next day or two. Union president Derek Fisher said the idea to dissolve was approved in “unanimous fashion.”
Jeffrey Kessler, a union lawyer, said the decision came after the players agreed that “bargaining completely failed” and said the players wanted to assert their antitrust rights.
The NBA had yet to comment on the decision, but Mr. Stern said over the weekend that player contracts could become void if there is no union and blamed player-agents for the movement.
Last week, Mr. Stern offered a new proposal that would have a 72-game season start on Dec. 15 but said the owners were done negotiating beyond the offer.
The main sticking point is with how to split the league’s $4 billion in revenue. The owners’ latest proposal revolves around what is essentially a 50/50 split. The last contract, which expired in July, gave players 57% of the revenue. Other logistical issues like salary cap structure remain unresolved as well.
“The players were not prepared to accept any ultimatums,” Mr. Hunter said. “They thought it was extremely unfair.”
Are you going to miss the NBA season? Are the players justified in walking away from the table?