Professional basketball players rejected the NBA's latest offer and have begun the process of disbanding the union. The decision will likely jeopardize the rest of the 2011-2012 basketball season.
Billy Hunter, the union's executive director, said the players' association is prepared to file antitrust action against the NBA. He said this is the best way for players to get their due process.
Hunter added the players were not prepared to accept NBA Commissioner David Stern's ultimatum, saying they thought it was "extremely unfair."
Commissioner Stern said it looks like the 2011-2012 season really is in jeopardy. He said the deal on the table was the best the NBA can offer and warned that decertification is not an answer.
In an interview with ESPN, Stern said the union's decision to disband is a "big charade," adding he believes the union is trying to see "if they can scare the NBA owners or something. That's not happening."
Union President Derek Fisher said, "This is the best decision for the players." He added, "I want to reiterate that point, that a lot of individually players have a lot of things personally at stake in terms of their careers and where they stand. And right now they feel it's important - we all feel it's important to all our players, not just the ones in this room, but our entire group — that we not only try to get a deal done for today but for the body of NBA players that will come into this league over the next decade and beyond."
The latest offer had called for a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. But players were reportedly unhappy with restrictions for big-spending teams that could limit their free agent options.
The previous contract expired on June 30. Despite a series of meetings since then, owners and players have not been able to reach an agreement.
With the Associated Press