After meeting for about three hours today to decide on their course of action, the NBPA decided to summarily reject the owners' offer and pursue anti-trust litigation against the league.
There will be no December 15th start, no 72 game season, in fact, there will likely be zero games. The players called the owners bluff, and it's pretty hard to point to a winner with today's result.
This comes on the heels of optimism just weeks ago when the players announced that they were willing to come down to the owners' 50-50 offer, leaving just system issues to deal with. So yes, we're going to be losing a season fighting over the length of the mid-level exception, determining whether teams over the luxury tax should be able to acquire players through sign-and-trade, and deciding whether teams should pay $1.50 or $1.75 per dollar if they are $5-10 million over the threshold.
They were right there, just inches away from sealing a deal, but complete idiocy on both sides of this deal doomed it to litigation. Now, instead of watching basketball on Christmas, you may get to read about David Stern and David Boies fighting in court.
The owners should've made the few concessions they had to to get this deal done after the union covered all their losses and the players should've just taken the deal on the table. Nobody would be ecstatic, but now everybody loses.
Each side loses some $2 billion in revenue in the case of a completely lost season, franchise values will plummet as fans lose interest in the NBA and start to gravitate toward hockey, and some players like Kevin Garnett or Steve Nash are losing perhaps the last productive season of their career.
In the end, it appears that a lack of communication and a mob mentality ruled in the players' sides. According to Chris Mannix, one veteran claims that his union rep "never called and never asked" what he thought on the offer. Rockets like Kevin Martin and Luis Scola have been asking the players to vote on the offer, but in the end they never did. Now, we'll see if they get what they want in this absurd court battle.
While the players are undoubtedly idiots for rejecting this deal, the bulk of the blame cannot be placed on anybody except the owners and David Stern. They got almost everything they wanted in this deal without making a single meaningful concession to the players, but when it came to sealing the deal, they pushed too hard. Now, they're learning that they severely underestimated the players' resolve.
Barring some drunken phone call with David Stern offering Billy Hunter what he wants to seal the deal late tonight, we are going down a path that is going to get very messy and threaten everything the NBA has built over the last few years. Any fan that hopped on the NBA bandwagon last season is now gone. Even the most hardened of fans are worn out and pissed off with this whole process. In a few months, the only people who care about the NBA might be Adrian Wojnarowski, Ken Berger, and Howard Beck.
Now we sit and wait and hope the owners panic at the last minute. If history is any indication, Stern will just get on his soapbox, blame the agents, and go sleep soundly in his bed without a care in the world.
I have but one question for David Stern: How u.