NBA Season in Jeopardy as Players Reject Offer
NBA commissioner David Stern warned that the league’s entire season could be headed for the dustbin after the players’ union rejected on Monday the team owners’ latest offer to end the long-drawn lockout.
“It looks like the 2011-12 season is really in jeopardy,” Stern told ESPN. “It’s just a big charade. To do it now, the union is ratcheting up I guess to see if they can scare the NBA owners or something. That’s not happening.”
Players’ union executive director Billy Hunter and other union officials said that they are ready to take the owners to court, even as they acknowledged that there are risks involved in deciding to dissolve the union. “We’re prepared to file this antitrust action against the NBA,” Hunter said. Union vice-president Maurice Evans said: “We understand the consequences of potentially missing the season; we understand the consequences that players could potentially face if things don’t go our way, but it’s a risk worth taking.”
The latest proposal from team owners included a 72-game season beginning December 15 and a 50-50 split of league revenue. With the union appearing bent on going for a court battle to resolve the issues, there is a possibility that the entire season could be wiped out. The last time that a lockout affected the NBA was in 1998, when the season was reduced to 50 games.