Union rejects CBA without full membership presentation

Union rejects CBA without full membership presentation
November 15, 2011, 12:48 am
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NEW YORK As the NBA Players Association gathered Monday, they considered many options on how to handle the latest proposal from the NBA.

One option at their disposal was to present it to the full membership, an option - much like the NBA's latest proposal - that was shot down.

"We did discuss it," said Derek Fisher, president of the now-dissolved NBPA after the union decided to file a disclaimer of interest against the NBA. "We went through our agenda, where we lay out all the information."

Fisher said the gap that existed between where the union was, and where the NBA was willing to go, "probably was not a gap that was going to be able to get closed by continuing to collective bargain."

He added, "and our executive committee and our player reps are elected to make decisions that on behalf of the general body, (if) it's not a deal that we feel will be passed by the general body or accepted by the general body, we have the ability to make those decisions and that was the decision that was made today."

While there were a number of player representatives who clearly did not like this deal, it by no means was a given that the NBA's latest offer would have been shot down had it been presented to the players.

C's point guard Rajon Rondo, who was at the meeting filling in for Celtics representative Paul Pierce (Rondo is his alternate), understands that there are a number of players who will suffer because of the decision made on Monday.

"It wasn't an easy decision," Rondo said. "But at the end of the day you can't look selfishly when you're making these decisions."

He's right.

Which is why, as this case now enters the vortex of the court system following the union's decision to file a disclaimer of interest, you have to wonder if it all could have been avoided if the union would have allowed the entire body to vote on the latest proposal.

But union leaders insisted the process coming into Monday's meeting was to simply present to the player representatives, what they came back with from negotiations with the NBA.

"We came back pretty empty handed," said Keyon Dooling, vice-president for the now-dissolved NBAPA. "We took the next step. Our main focus was to present the deal objectively so the guys could interpret it for themselves."

However, Dooling knows that there will be players upset at this decision, and who will feel that they were excluded from the process that now leaves them out of work for an indefinite period of time.

"Players in the room want to play and (don't want to) miss money as well," Dooling said. "Our body was represented. We got elected officials in there; you got the executive committee in there. We all represent the body of the guys. The guys trusted us and entrusted us to make those decisions."

And those decisions, coupled with some strong-armed negotiating tactics by the NBA, has left the union few options to pursue in bringing a resolution to the negotiating stalemate that exists between them and the NBA.