- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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Editor's note: In the words of NBA commissioner David Stern, the precarious state of accord between the owners' and players' sides in the NBA labor negotiations "blew up" on Monday, as the players' union stated their intent to file a disclaimer of interest in order to disband and pursue an antitrust lawsuit against the league. In light of that development, ESPNLA.com invited an NBA veteran to anonymously share his thoughts about the state of the lockout and the decision to file a disclaimer of interest. All player names, team names and salary figures have been deleted here.
Q: Did your team representative bring the latest owner's proposal to you and your teammates for a vote before the decision was made today?
They didn’t bring it to us [as a team] for a vote. They [the player representatives in New York] voted. Just the reps voted.
Q: What would you have done if you had a chance to vote? Would you have said, ‘Yes’ and accepted?
I don’t know [the details of] the last deal on the table. I heard that it was a bad deal, so, no, I probably wouldn’t have accepted it. I heard it said rookie [contracts] would go five years …
I heard they agreed on a 50-50 [basketball related income split] so the only problem was the system.
Q: So that deal never made it into your hands for review?
They might have e-mailed it to me. I saw it somehow.
Q: What do you think happens now?
I don’t know what the f---. Your guess is as good as mine. This is the last s--- I would want to do. I ain’t signing no decertification papers or nothing like that. This is crazy.
Right now they only need 30 percent [of the players’ votes for decertification] and then that will go 45 days and that’s when everyone will get to vote. Right now they only needed 30 percent to start the process and then I think 45 days later is when everyone will have to vote.
Q: Were you on the decertification call that Paul Pierce and Tyson Chandler reportedly organized a couple weeks ago?
No, not that one. But I guess every agent had their own one so I was on one with [my agent] and a couple of people. Pretty much everybody had that talk. I was hoping we wouldn’t get to that, but …
Q: You still have guaranteed money in your contract and that could become null and void now, right?
Q: Derek Fisher said it was a unanimous decision by the players today. It doesn’t sound like you agree.
It was probably unanimous for all the reps, and I guess that’s what we elect them for, to make those decisions. If all the player reps made it unanimous and agree it was that bad of a deal, I mean, it’s probably that bad of a deal. I know it sucks for the people like me.
People are saying if you go on you’re losing this, you’re losing that and if you sign now you’re making this, but what they don’t realize this is bigger than you. This is bigger than me. I think I owe it to the people before me that allowed me to make this money that I’m making now, the sacrifices they made. For me, if I’m making the sacrifice and I’m losing [millions of dollars], I’m sacrificing this it means I’m bigger than what I’m getting. This is for maybe my son. Or future players behind me.
Q: That is a great sentiment. It’s one thing to say it, but to actually sacrifice millions of dollars, that doesn’t seem like a worthy proposition.
No, I hear you. I’m not going to lie. It sucks. It sucks, but I mean, there’s people that sacrificed a lot more than what I’m sacrificing right now for me to be where I’m at. From players that were the first black players and things like that, there were people who made a lot more difficult sacrifices than what I’m making right now.
I feel fortunate that I was able to play [as long as I have] and save up a nice sum of money. So, that’s one positive. Even though I would really love to have [those millions] coming in, I’m not really going to be strapped for cash looking for the next check or struggling to pay my bills. So, that’s one good thing I can take out of this.
Q: What’s the thought of Billy Hunter right now amongst guys you’re talking to?
Most of the people I know, they just want to play. Especially the guys that already have deals in place. But, I mean, the one thought is that maybe we should have done this [filed the disclaimer of interest] earlier. I guess it was trying, trying too much to negotiate when we should have done this earlier. I think that’s the one problem people are having right now [with Hunter].
Q: Does going overseas now come to the forefront of your mind?
I don’t know. Like I said, I really, really don’t need to go over there for money or anything like that. Maybe if the right opportunity presents itself in the right place, I’ll give it some thought. But right now I’m just going to enjoy time with my family, I guess.
Hopefully we’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell that maybe the owners will feel the burn and we can get a deal. Other than that, I think there’s nothing else I can do but sit here and hope. Like, I’ve been hoping the whole time that we would not get to this point. But that hasn’t gotten me anywhere because we’re at this point.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Editor's note: In the words of NBA commissioner David Stern, the precarious state of accord between the owners' and players' sides in the NBA labor negotiations "blew up" on Monday, as the players' union stated their intent to file a disclaimer of interest in order to disband and pursue an antitrust lawsuit against the league.