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. Josh Davis

    All the no brainer comments like "good riddance", "good", etc make me laugh because a fan of the NBA will always be a fan of the NBA and basketball in general. Those making comments like that are just fat trolls who wish they had an sixteenth of the energy an NBA player had.....this problem will figure itself out and there will be basketball again in which I am sure you will crawl to your half broken computer chair and comment negatively again. Idiots.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebronisawussbag

      Good Riddance! Pass the Cheez Whiz! And good riddance to fans like Josh Davis!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lovingliving

      Trolls trolls trolls, what are u a warlock also? You apparently have to make ur point by emulating ur idol, SHEEN. You are the non original idiot.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The all potent one

    Last minute offer to no longer require the players to refer to the owners as massa saved the season

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jimmy

    idiots, smh

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike brown

    Good riddance to the NBA, all they do is take up good airtime on TV anyway, I'd rather see the Flintstones!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mafair

    Its their game, they just play it !

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. I support the Players

    Good luck to the players as they fight for what they feel they're worth... if teams are losing money then they need to investigate their own policies and fix what's broken (stop overpaying for journeymen, stop drafting players on potential and instead opt for less risky and fundamentally sound players, go back to marketing the teams rather than the players, etc.)

    The NBA's players shouldn't have to foot the bill for the poor spending decisions of the owners... no more bailouts!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Timberpuppies

    Oh no! We can't see the Timberwolves? We'll just go back to watching paint dry, snow falling and grass growing...That's all we watched anyway. Good ridence...Terrinble team, terrible sport, bunch of thugs!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. D

    I just think that it is pathetic that these players are arguing over MILLIONS of dollars, when the average Joe will pay a significant percentage of their weekly salary to take their family to one of these games, or buy the jersey of their kids favorite player. Shame on them, especially when your job is a GAME you are SUPPOSED to LOVE. When you love your job it shouldn't matter how much you get paid.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jim

    moronic sport, overpaid thugs.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nick

    So where's the Occupy the NBA? Why don't the owners higher replacement players? Tell them to try Wall Street, there's a bunch of people sitting around there doing nothing.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lebronisawussbag

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Like people are rioting the streets praying for any of these overpaid clowns to come back. Money hungry playaz! The NBA has been a joke for years, with Lebron Jester being the final punchline. Screw these jerks.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebronisawussbag

      ..and Josh Davis likes big balls.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Justin

    Its hard for me to feel sorry for a bunch of basketball players who cant decide whether to play ball or argue over more money. Im 56, divorced, and unemployed, so you wont get any sympathy from me. Ive been an NBA fan for almost 50 yrs, but if they walk, im done with them. Bring on the replacements, so sorry that you guys cant buy more bling or get laid more often.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jose

    Good! The NBA sucks anyway. Let the players de-certify and have the false sense that they are worth the money they seek. The NFL resolved there issues and that is good enough for me :)

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeremy

    Those millionaire players should care more about their fans and less about their pockets. SHAME ON THEM!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • I support the Players

      How dare they try to fight to be paid what they're worth! I buy their basketball cards and check their stats in the paper, so that should be enough to feed their families and pay their bills!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Worst Game

    NBA = ILLUSION ECONOMY!!!

    TAX DOLLARS. We built brand new million dollars stadium for extra ticket ticket seats. What do you want?
    "ANOTHER BIGGER STADIUM" we are already did that. 1970, demolish. 1980, demolish. 2000 brand new.Demolish. Staple stadium, Jordan stadium, tons of band new stadium.

    2011 EXTREME CLEAN BRAND NEW STADIUM with tons of empty seats. Half of didn't attend the game. No one is watching NBA. You blamed YOUTUBE.

    screw you.....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
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