NBA players reject league offer; begin to disband union
Derek Fisher speaks on behalf of the NBA players afte they rejected the league's latest deal.
November 14th, 2011
02:26 PM ET

NBA players reject league offer; begin to disband union

The NBA players have rejected the league's latest offer and are beginning the process to disband the union.

The decision likely jeopardizes the season, according to the NBA Players Association.

The “collective bargaining process has completely broken down,” NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter said.

Hunter added that the players were not willing to accept any "ultimatums" from NBA Commissioner David Stern and felt things were not going to get any better.

"We're prepared to file this antitrust action against the NBA," Hunter said. "That's the best situation where players can get their due process."

Hunter announced that the group was moving to disband the union, which would be  converted to a trade association. This move would mean that all of the players would now be represented by legal counsel in a class action suit against the NBA. Hunter said the players will be represented by David Boies, who is known for his work during the NFL and Microsoft anti-trust lawsuits.

According to NBA.com, while the players have decided to disband the union, they are not de-certifying it - a point they say is a major difference.

"The players are filing a disclaimer of interest, an antitrust action against the league within the next two days," the post on NBA.com says. "In basic terms, they are taking the league to court."

The process could mean drawing out an already lengthy bargaining process, and could dash all hopes the NBA had that players would accept their latest offer and start a shortened 72-game season in about a month.

Derek Fisher, the union president for the players, said it was "the best decision for the players."

SI.com: Players take to Twitter after rejecting offer

"I want to reiterate that point, that a lot of individual players have a lot of things personally at stake in terms of their careers and where they stand," Fisher said. "And right now they feel it's important - we all feel it's important to all our players, not just the ones in this room, but our entire group - that we not only try to get a deal done for today but for the body of NBA players that will come into this league over the next decade and beyond."

In an ESPN interview, Commissioner David Stern had sharp words for the NBPA, particular executive director Billy Hunter and union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, whom he said "walked away" from the negotiating table.

Stern blamed Billy Hunter, the players' association executive director, saying Hunter "has decided to put the season in jeopardy and deprive his union members of an enormous payday."

He said the union refused to "bargain in good faith" and that the NBA anticipated the players' union being disbanded.

The owners' latest offer called for a 50-50 split of revenues between the owners and players, he said.

Stern accused Hunter of not putting the NBA's latest proposal to a vote. The proposal, which came after more than two years of negotiating, addressed many of the players' concerns - including the revenue split between players and owners, the hard salary cap, guaranteed contracts and average player salaries, which Stern said would have risen at least $2 million annually with the latest NBA offer.

"We are about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA," the commissioner said. "If I were a player in the NBA ... I'd be wondering what it is that Billy Hunter just did."

The move by the NBPA to disband and sue, Stern said, is an "irresponsible" and poorly timed ploy to strengthen the players' negotiating position. Asked if he was moved by the players' resolve, Stern took exception, saying today's move "won't be classified historically as resolve. They've been badly misled."

Asked whether the 2011-2012 season will be wiped out, he said 30 days would be needed between an agreement and the beginning of games, "and now we have no one to negotiate with."

To the fans, Stern said he was sorry and that the league would try to win them back, but he could not predict when the players might take the court again. For one, a deal needs to be in place 30 days before any tipoff, and now, Stern said, there is no one to negotiate with.

Team owners locked out players in early July as the two sides tried to hammer out a new agreement. League Commissioner Stern has said the previous season was not profitable for most of the league's 30 owners, who are seeking a bigger share of league revenues.

In addition to the revenue issue, points of contention in the negotiations include the owners' plan to strengthen a salary cap and the players' demand to raise the average salary.

soundoff (1,594 Responses)
  1. Pharme938

    Very nice site!

    November 15, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Saint Thomas

    Some of these players can barely read and write. I would chop their annual salaries to under 100k and send them back to high school in the off-season. No sports player should be making more than people that actually make a difference in this world. Putting a ball through a hoop doesn't suffice.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. YNOT

    Fire them all. Greed. Plain and simple. There are a million guys out there with broken hoop dreams that would play for $50,000.00 to $100,000.00 a year, and in this day, that is a lot of money to the people who watch NBA games. And you know what Derrick Fisher, the love of the game would be back. Not a bunch of spoiled little babies crying a river. So enjoy your million dollars you've made if you still have any of it left and lets bring tryouts to these cities and hell with these guys.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Marc

    I feel bad for all of the NBA cities and business in those cities, they are all going to take a big hit. Not to mention the concession workers, janitors, parking attendants etc. This b.s. affects a lot of peoples lively hood not just the money hungry players and owners. This affects soooo many people it is not even funny. This is just pathetic and if feel bad for the kids whose parents are out of work because of this. It gonna be a leaner xmas for them.

    November 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Will

    I think that if the players want to get their way, more of the big stars should go play for other country's to show the NBA that they are the ones who make the NBA what it is. I know they get payed a lot, but I don't think that is the point. I believe that the players just want the 51% (at least) and it has little to do with the money but more ethics. And it is valid in my opinion because all the other jobs surrounding the game and even the organization its self is based off of piggy backing off of these talented athletes. And for that reason I think that the players total revenue should always be more than the company/league. I think that this should be true in all types of organizations, imagine that the total amount that workers in any given company received was more than that company(even if by just a little bit) how would that change change the economy? I don't know the answer but think it is worth some thought. It kinda looks like these players are being greedy but I think that it is much deeper than that, at the end of the day I think that the Players Union is actually setting a good example by fighting to remain in control of the system they work for, and not to be owned by it. I mean honestly ask yourself who is actually doing the work?

    November 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bros. Cheese

      @Will – Now there's something to chew on for a few minutes!! Thank you, I totally agree. Do you work for a company that does that?! There are companies out there that pay close to 60% of their revenue back to the work force. Do you know of any?
      It's time for us to wake up to the reality that the way we make our money coupled with where and how we choose to spend it, dictates much of what we see going on in our country not to mention the impact on the rest of the world.

      November 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. j

    Eff em all.

    Let see what happens when they have to get real jobs. They'd better learn to say "Would you like fries with that," because I doubt most of them are qualified for much more.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. John

    That picture looks like the bloods and the crips are having a sitdown. Bye Bye NBA. Its going to be nice to not have to see a gang members on TV every night.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. anna

    Shame on them!...Our military soldiers are in other countries around the world putting their lives on the line. Their families struggle to get by without them during holidays, birthdays,anniversaries, family deaths or any other crisis, all with very little pay. I say send them all to Marine Corp bootcamp and then give them the paycheck of an American soldier. I challenge any one of those ungrateful overpaid players to walk a mile in their shoes.

    November 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. rukiddinme

    ?

    November 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rukiddinme

    Let them disband. Dismantle the teams and the league. Start over with a better system that supports small teams as well as the big teams. Similar to the NFL.

    November 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. rukiddinme

    there might not be a basketball season this year. “But if you want to watch millionaires throwing elbows, there’s still the Republican presidential race:

    November 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. llbabe

    Not only for the players but of the fans this wipe out is quite disappointing. Everyone was hoping an agreement would be reached where there is favor on both sides. Question is my mind is what is the future of professional basketball? It does not look so promising.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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