On Monday, the National Basketball Players Association voted to disband the player’s union. This move will end negotiations with the NBA and turn the labor dispute into a courtroom legal battle. After two and a half years of negotiations, the NBPA voted to dissolve itself by declaring “disclaiming interest” in response to NBA Commissioner David Stern’s announcement that the NBA would not continue with any further negotiations. As a result of the union disbanding, former NBPA players are now able to individually challenge the NBA’s player lockout in court for violation of anti-trust laws.
The looming legal battle can only hurt any chance of seeing the 2011-2012 season survive the lockout. After agreeing that the current offer was unacceptable, the former NBPA vote to totally disband was a rejection of the NBA’s increasingly unfavorable offers to the player’s union. The Commissioner has not officially canceled the season, but with the first weeks of the season already missed, and a court challenge ahead, the chances of seeing players return to the NBA this year are, at best, unpredictable.