Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter announced today that the NBAPA will file a disclaimer of interest today which means that the NBAPA formally states it will no longer represent the players. What this means effectively is that the players will now be able to sue the NBA for anti-trust violations since there is no longer collective bargaining. Hunter stated that the suit would be filed in the next couple of days.
This is a quicker route than decertification where the NBAPA officially disbands. That could have taken until the end of December to get an official vote. It's possible that while the NBA had enough votes to put it to a vote, they may not have received enough votes from the rank and file to do so.
This does give the union leverage it hasn't had before. It could force the owners back to the bargaining table and propose another deal that's more palatable to the players. With the ani-trust litigation, the players may also be able to get an injunction on the lockout which would force the owners to allow them back into team facilities and to resume work.
What does all of this mean for the season? It doesn't look good. It's still possible that this puts pressure on the league to get something done but they could also say forget it and call off the season. What it definitely does mean is that we're not going to be having basketball by December 15th. The ball is in the owners' court now.
Update from Stern's press conference,
We're about to go to the Nuclear Winter of the NBA.
The fans can think that we were very close and the players decided to blow it up.