The NBAPA didn't even need the full time allotted by David Stern's latest ultimatum. In a show of tremendous ... hubris, idiocy, unity? ... the union told the league to take their offer and shove it. They also put the league on notice they'll be disbanding the union and suing the league.
In the big picture, blame goes to both sides. I'm not sure which side deserves more (the owners for signing the ridiculous CBA in 2005 that served as the union's starting point for these negotiations) or the players for flushing this season down the tubes. It doesn't matter.
As a fan, this is the point that I can't get past. These negotiations have been going on for a couple of years. They've been going on in earnest for over five months since the lockout began. This is the end point of the negotiations and the union didn't even vote on it. There's a question as to whether they even did an informal poll of their members. Instead, they just decided it was time to take a stand that will likely cost us the season. That's unforgivable, in my eyes.
The rhetoric is going to explode over the next couple of hours/days, and there's one theme I'm seeing from the players' side that I find disconcerting and really insulting. Jason Terry has mentioned the poor middle class in the NBA, Etan Thomas threw the players in with the Occupy Wall Street folks.
Let's just be clear about one thing, if you're using the Occupy Wall Street parallel, the players don't represent the 99%. They don't represent the poor exploited workers. In this story, the 99% are the ticket sales people, the vendors who work in the arenas, the waiters/waitresses/parking attendants. The people who actually need these pay checks to feed a family, send their kids to college, you know...live.
The role that fits the players is that of the executives with golden parachutes. You know them, the guys who get a huge pay day no matter how they perform, no matter how the company performs, or in the case of the NBA, they get paid even if they're unable to work. The guaranteed contracts are their golden parachutes and backdated stock option plans.
Taking the parallel a bit further, this is what we have. Executives with unbelievable benefit packages and 100% job security taking down a $4B industry which provides thousands of jobs when 14M people in this country are unemployed over a handful of changes to the CBA which may or may not restrict player movement. In doing so, they're going to cost themselves at least $2B this season, and probably more when you factor in legal fees.
And what's their end game? What are they going to get for the $2B they're giving up (not to mention the thousands of jobs they're killing?), well, they'll get the right to file a lawsuit. Let's be clear, this lawsuit could result in huge damages being awarded to the players. But let's take a look at what that means. First, the lawyers get a percentage of the decision, probably as much as a third, but let's forget the lawyers for a second. Assume 100% of the decision is given directly to the players. It's going to take up to a year before a decision is handed down. Then probably another 2-3 years for appeals. Let's say this gets cleared up in 2.5 years, which is wildly optimistic. That's $5B dollars of lost wages that'll never be made up. The decision they'd have to win would need to be $5B minimum for the players to break even. And if/when they finally reach that point and somehow manage to break even three years from now, I guess they'll be able to do extend-and-trade deals so the future 'Melo can still force his way to a rich team. That's sounds like a worthwhile endeavor.
There is a slight silver lining here for fans, though. Pretty soon we're going to start hearing the league talk about voiding every contract. I sincerely hope that happens. When all is said and done, the owners would have a more structured system and an even footing to build their rosters from a 450-player free agent pool. Probably a best-case scenario if this season is lost.