Tuesday, November 15, 2011
For NBA players, check's not in the mail
ESPN.com news services
Tuesday was the day NBA players were to have received their first paychecks of the 2011-12 season. With no games being played and no collective bargaining agreement in place, that didn't happen.
According to CNBC, the average NBA player lost $220,000 as a result of the stalemate with the owners.
Tuesday was also the 138th day of the NBA lockout and the day after the players' union rejected the owners' offer, and announced its intention to disband and file an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
Under the previous collective bargaining agreement between the National Basketball Player's Association and the league, most players received 1/12th of their salaries on Nov. 15 of each season.
Team union representatives voted unanimously Monday to file a "disclaimer of interest" that will dissolve the players' union.
Executive director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher announced that with negotiations between the sides at a stalemate, they planned to file an antitrust lawsuit within 48 hours. The suit will seek a summary judgment that deems the NBA shutdown which began July 1 to be illegal.
The union met with a number of writers at its New York offices on Tuesday evening for a briefing, at which it explained why it sought the disclaimer, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.
The proposal rejected by the players called for a 50-50 split of annual revenue and a 72-game season starting Dec. 15. But the sides continued to disagree about the various "system" issues that put restraints on teams that stray into luxury-tax territory which, according to the union, will severely hamper free agency and restrict overall player movement.
Both Hunter and NBA commissioner David Stern said the move put the 2011-12 season in serious jeopardy.
Stern, in an interview on ESPN "SportsCenter," blasted the union's leadership for not bringing the proposal to its membership for a vote. Referring to union outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, Stern added ominously: "Obviously Mr. Kessler got his way and we are about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA."
"If I were a player," Stern continued, "I would be wondering what it is that Billy Hunter just did."
It had been widely expected that Hunter would respond to Stern's ultimatum offer by announcing that the deal would be presented to the full membership for a vote as long as the league consented to three-to-five key amendments.
The decision to seek a disclaimer likewise surprised many of the agents who have been at the forefront of a push for decertification that has collected an estimated 200 signatures from frustrated players looking to dissolve the union through alternative means.
Information from ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein and The Associated Press was used in this report.