NEW YORK The NBA Players Union has notified the NBA that they will be filing a disclaimer of interest, the kind of legal move that throws yet another monkey-wrench into the hopes of having an NBA season.
"The Collective Bargaining process has completely broken down," said Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBAPA which will become defunct as soon as the court filings for the disclaimer of interest are completed, possibly as early as today.
"As a result, we served a notice of disclaimer on Commissioner (David) Stern and the NBA. "We plan to disseminate that to the 30 team owners, so they will know the action that was taken today."
Dozens of players were in attendance, including Celtics forward Jeff Green and C's guard Rajon Rondo who is the alternate player representative for the C's.
"This was not something we rushed into," Rondo said. "And guys felt strong about our opinion and the decision we made."
He added, "it's a lot at stake, it's a lot of risks. But at the end of the day, we have to try and make the right decision for us as a whole."
The move to file a disclaimer of interest as opposed to decertifying the union was done to expedite the court process, which the players believe could potentially salvage a significant portion of the 2011-2012 NBA season.
It allows the players to immediately file anti-trust lawsuits against the NBA, and not have to wait for the 45-60 window that would be in place if they were to decertify.
The players will be represented by union counsel Jeffrey Kessler, as well as David Boies who was part of the NFL's legal team in the anti-trust suit filed against them by the players, one that included Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the list of plaintiffs. Kessler and Boies declined to comment on which players would be named as plaintiffs in the anti-trust suit. Typically the plaintiffs in such suits are among the more high-profile players, so the most likely Celtics to be named are Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
While there's still a chance that the NBA and the attorneys now representing the players can work out a deal, there isn't expected to be much talk in the coming weeks about a new deal. Instead, the focus will be on the court proceedings.
NBA commissioner David Stern held no punches back in discussing his disappointment with the NBAPA's decision.
"We were very close, and the players decided to blow it up," Stern told ESPN.
Stern added, "Billy Hunter has decided to put the season in jeopardy and deprive his union members of an enormous payday."