In what is simultaneously shocking and the likeliest outcome of these last several weeks all along, the NBAPA has officially voted to dissolve itself as the negotiating body of the players and to sue the NBA in antitrust court. They've retained David Boies, who once argued in favor of Al Gore in front of Supreme Court, as their lawyer.
The player's official stance is that they have a responsibility to future players coming into the NBA. The owners' plan, according to them, was geared to eliminate basketball's middle-class, make it much more difficult for team's to retain their cores, cut the liability of owners to their players in the event of injury or poor performance, and create a marketplace inimical to young players.
Despite widespread optimism from columnists after last week's sessions, the rumblings over the weekend weren't good. Among other things, the players simply did not take kindly to Stern's take-it-or-leave-it tactics. The players felt, justly enough, that as the ones earning the owners whatever basketball related income exists they, at the very least, were entitled to more respect.
On the owner's side, there was a sincere commitment to creating a new kind of NBA system. Despite the fact that Stern was able to resist the demands of the hard-liners in general, the overall commitment of nearly all the owners to dramatic change ultimately could not be overcome---especially given the feeling that it is the players who will feel the sting of the lockout far more so than the owners.
The NBA now enters a period of extreme uncertainty. A swift conclusion is unlikely, thus also a season. Moreover, this is a last-ditch gambit. Only winning a court case could possibly have given the players' leverage at any point in this negotiation. Losing one, and having already lost too much of a season to use the remaining games as a bargaining chip, the players may find themselves without any legs to stand on at all. 47% BRI may, at that point, be the least of their worries. It's an all-or-nothing move.
We'll see how it plays out. We have no choice.