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NBA lockout: Union disbanding seriously jeopardizes 2011-2012 season

November 14, 2011 |  1:13 pm

They entered the press conference room Monday with smiles on their faces, but the NBA players' decision to disband their union hardly proved to be a laughing matter.

The NBAPA formally rejected the league's proposal of a 50-50 split in basketball-related income and mixed concessions in various system issues mostly tilted the owners' way. That's not the only move that will seriously jeopardize the NBA's 2011-2012 season. The union plans to disband. It will file an anti-trust lawsuit later today against the NBA. Both union attorney Jeffrey Kessler and David Boies, who was part of the NFL's legal team during that league's players' decertification, will represent the players. 

"Although we chose this today," players union president Derek Fisher said, "we did not choose to be in this situation."

The players union has every right to push back, considering the concessions they've made in basketball-related income, moving from 57% to 50%, about $280 million they're giving the owners every season. NBA Commissioner David Stern doesn't exactly need to follow through on his threat that the league won't negotiate further. But the players union's latest decision shows how both sides easily could have avoided this disaster.

If the union was intent on balking at the owners' proposal, they could have decertified earlier this summer to ensure that the effort wouldn't seriously hurt the season. If the owners honestly wanted to give a fair deal, they would've been satisfied with the $3 billion the players union already gave back through a 10-year period. If the union was honest with its negotiating power, it would've realized earlier that any further offers will only worsen. If the owners honestly wanted a fairer deal, they would've allowed more negotiations during the summer.

Instead we have the players union and the league butting heads with fiery rhetoric and defiant attitudes, even if billions of dollars and a whole 2011-2012 season goes to waste.


Negotiations are at a crossroads

Players need to hold formal vote on deal

Five things to note about owners' current proposal

-- Mark Medina

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