David Stern was incredibly candid on ESPN’s Sportscenter. The NBA commissioner was interviewed twice on the network today, once before and once after the players announced they were rejecting the league’s latest offer and filing an antitrust lawsuit.
The quotes are jawdropping. You can see both videos here. One is called “David Stern Hopeful” and the other is “Stern: NBA Nuclear Winter.”
If anyone is confident about the NBA playing any games this year, you won’t be after hearing these comments. The greatest hits:
If the union is not in existence neither are $4 billion worth of guaranteed contracts that are entered into on the condition that there is a union. If the agents insist on playing with fire my guess is that they will get themselves burned. …
Threat (of decertification) has been ongoing until now despite the NBA’s good-faith bargaining.
Frankly, by this irresponsible action at this late date, Billy Hunter has decided to put the season in jeopardy and deprive his union members of an enormous payday.
The chances of the season slipping away from us and the players losing all they have worked very hard to achieve … it’s really a tragedy.
And when speaking more broadly about the players’ move to disband and file the antitrust suit, Stern did not mince words:
This is a negotiating tactic. … It’s not going to work. … (The players) seem hell bent on self destruction.
Guaranteed years of litigation.
Lots of paychecks keep getting missed from players, from players’ families, from those that depend on the NBA for a living both in arenas and surrounding areas.
We are about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA.
It looks like the 2011-12 season is really in jeopardy.
If I were a player in the NBA, one of the 450, I would be wondering what it is that Billy Hunter just did.
“It’s just a negotiating tactic that’s all it is. … This sham … an act of magic. … It’s just a big charade … it’s just irresponsible given the timing of it.
I don’t think it’s resolve, I think it’s bad advice.
This is going to wind up being a very unwise decision that will not be classified historically as resolve. They’ve been badly misled.
The players decided to blow it up.
They’re rhetoric is almost humorous in terms of their magical trick that is going to allow them to improve their negotiating position.
Since the players are going to wait several days before officially filing their lawsuit, there still remains a sliver of a chance that both sides can meet up again and hammer out a deal. But it’s not looking good.