NBA negotiations between players and the league are officially over after players rejected David Stern’s final deal, which will dismantle the union and put the fate of the season in a New York state courtroom.
If the union had agreed to Stern’s deal, the season could have started on Dec.15. However, NBA Player’s Union president Derrick Fisher said the deal was unfair to players. Fisher said the decision to dismantle the union and reject the deal was the best move for players.
"This is the best decision for the players," said Fisher, surrounded by Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and other players. "I want to reiterate that point, that a lot of individual players have a lot of things personally at stake in terms of their careers and where they stand.”
He added, “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."
Billy Hunter, union executive director, said the players would now let the court decide what was next for the league.
"We're prepared to file this antitrust action against the NBA," Hunter said. "That's the best situation where players can get their due process."
Hunter explained that the NBA Player’s Association would dismantle to become a trade association, putting them in the legal position to file the antitrust suit against the league. Jeffrey Kessler and David Boies, who worked on opposite sides to resolve the NFL lockout, will represent the NBAPA.
According to Hunter, the attorneys will file the suit “sometime within the next two days.”
The executive director said he saw promise in the attorneys’ abilities.
"We think that we've got a stellar team," Hunter said.
Stern, who held a Twitter information session about the proposal on Sunday, appeared on Sports Center to say players were only hurting themselves by rejecting the deal.
"When you negotiate for 2½ years and finally get to where the parties are ... that's not an ultimatum,” Stern said. “That's a proposal that's ready to be voted up or down," Stern said. "They seem hell-bent on self-destruction and it's very sad."