Philadelphia, PA – Greed is at the root of most of the NBA's problems these days but it also might ultimately serve as the answer.
David Stern used the term 'Nuclear Winter' to describe what the NBA faces after the players rebuked the ultimatum on the table and decided to file a disclaimer of interest to dissolve the NBPA, a necessary step if the players plan to pursue antitrust litigation against the league.
Hunter explained the move in a letter sent to his constituents Monday night.
"We will now function as a trade association to assist and support NBA players, but we will no longer engage in collective bargaining with the NBA owners," the letter said. "The Players Association will instead dedicate itself to supporting individual NBA players in the assertion of your non-labor rights to be free of any illegal restrictions on competition for your services."
Then came the disingenuous spin...
"With no labor union in place, it is our sincere hope that the NBA will immediately end its now illegal boycott and finally open the 2011-12 season," the letter said. "Individual teams are free to negotiate with free agents for your services. If the owners choose to continue their present course of action, it is our view that they subject themselves to significant antitrust liability."
A Lord of the Flies system with 450 free agents is the last thing the NBPA wants. Sure the haves like Los Angeles, New York and Miami might become even more powerful but that $5.8 million average salary would likely sink like a stone.
However, until an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA is actually filed hope that a 2011-12 season could be saved remains and is not all that farfetched.
After all, the 'Nuclear Winter' Stern talked about truly began on Tuesday when things got very real for the players. You see Tuesday would have been pay day, the first of the '11-12 season, and the average NBAer will lose about $220,000.
The hardline players aren't suffering. Most of them are superstars or veterans already set for life but let's not forget a lot of the more pedestrian players would have jumped at the offer on the table if they actually got a chance to vote on it.
"Hopefully the union just made that decision for every player in the league, and not just 30," Glen Davis told the Boston Herald. "Are they making that decision for the rest of us? Or are they just making that decision for the Kobes of this league - guys who have made a lot of money already. That's my concern."
Houston's Chuck Hayes echoed Davis' thoughts when talking with YAHOO! Sports.
"It's just very disappointing that we can't get a deal done," the Rockets forward said. "I trust that the union made the right decision on behalf of me and the rest of the 400 players. We all lose, everybody."
Promising Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins had another take and spoke for many of the league's younger players when venting his frustrations to the Sacramento Bee.
"Some of the young players I talked to, it's not about the money," Cousins said. "We just want to go out there and play ball. For me, it's knocking off time for me to be improving as a player. This whole situation is really not helping out us younger players."
Others stood by Hunter and Union president Derek Fisher.
"All players just have to be together through this process and stand strong for what we believe in as a whole," Houston guard Kevin Martin told YAHOO!. "If the majority feels like this is the best route then we as a group will now support the decision and move on and hope for the best. We just want everything fair."
Fisher had claimed the decision to dissolve the union was unanimous but that's simply not true. It doesn't matter which side you support in this mess to understand doing something this dramatic without a full vote from the membership looks cowardly and gives the perception that the NBPA was fighting for the 30 or so players Davis spoke of at the expense of the others.
A grassroots effort by the league's rank-and-file could be the answer and missing a check for $220,000 might be the catalyst to start it.
It's a long shot but in a time when unbridled greed threatens not only the NBA but our entire society, it's time to embrace any vice that offers hope, even if it's the very same one that started this mess.