News 9.com Staff and Wire Reports
NBA players rejected the latest offer from the league's owners Monday afternoon and will now file an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
Union executive director Billy Hunter says the players were not prepared to accept the ultimatum agreement set forth by NBA Commissioner David Stern saying they thought it was "extremely unfair."
"We're prepared to file this antitrust action against the NBA," said Hunter. "That's the best situation where players can get their due process."
"I think it's bad advice," said Commissioner Stern in an ESPN interview Monday afternoon. "I wish we hadn't done this but it was their choice."
Players from all 30 NBA teams were present at Monday's meetings including OKC Thunder players Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich. Monday marked the 137th day of the lockout and the union met for more than four hours before the deciding to reject the offer.
"This is the best decision for the players," said union president Derek Fisher who called the decision unanimous. "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. 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 decision likely jeopardizes any hope for an NBA season.
The proposal rejected by the players called for a 50-50 division of basketball-related income and proposed a 72-game season beginning Dec. 15.
Commissioner Stern urged the players to take the deal and also said if this was not agreed upon that the owners would retreat to a 47-53 percent revenue division.
The previous collective bargaining agreement expired June 30 and despite numerous meetings since then, no new agreement has been reached. Owners still want significant changes after saying they lost $300 million last season and hundreds of millions more in each year of the old agreement, which was ratified in 2005.
At this time no other talks or negotiations are scheduled and Commissioner Stern reminded fans of the 30 day rule if any talks were to resume.
"I would say it take 30 days to go from now until a deal and our fans are amongst the most intelligent people out there so they can look at a calendar just like I can," said Stern. We need a deal 30 days before we start, that's just the reality of it. And now there's no one to negotiate with because the union is not there and so we won't be doing anything soon."