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. THIS JUST IN

    WHO CARES! It's not the NFL...no one will miss it.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chip

    Ironic that as a result of greedy multi-millionaires and billionairesfighting over how to split up the money, there's now no money to split up because they're not playing basketball.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marc

    Sally, most owners did not get rich fromowning sports teams. And, if you think more owners ought to look like the players, then all those players have to do is come up with the money to buy teams. I have not seen that happening. Are you suggestions that teams be given to them? If owners care losing money on their franchises, then they will sell them or watch them be absorbed by the league, which would have no choice but to terminate some teams.

    I recognize the greed of most rich people, but all owners had their money BEFORE buying a team, and if it is a losing investment, then they will either find a way to make it at least break even, or else they will divest in which case far fewer players will have jobs.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Really??

    So the one of the players' main complaints is that the average salary needs to go up?! I just flipped over to Wikipedia and saw that the avg salary for the 2008 season was $5.2 Million! On top of that the minimum salary for a player with 1 year of experience is $762,195... unbelievable what professional sports has become...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gatorguy

    I love the NBA and will miss it a lot but I hope Stern and the league stand strong. If these over paid athelete won't take your deal, get rid of them and get players that will. Get rid of multi year contracts and sign player to one year deals. Make them earn a raise and we'll have a much better league. Just don't give in owners!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MightyMoo

    Hope those guys were wise with the cash they did get and saved and didn't spend money on high priced things they still owe for. This will be interesting.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • dorkus

      No one cares. This is not football. They could cancel the season for 2 years and nobody would complain...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robert

    Hire scrubs to play.. Maybe I could afford to bring my family to a game for once.. Let the NBA go.. if anybody wants to come back and PLAY for money that is more to scale, with ticket prices to scale.. then I'd be happy to see them back, otherwise.. good luck with those multi-million dollar mortgages!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Just me

    This is the best Christmas present ever Santa- I don’t have to flip the channels and see another basketball game this year. I hope you can deliver next year too!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      That's funny dude! Love it

      November 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jayo745

      I second that comment.....Christmas in November! lol.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      My thoughts exactly! May they battle each other for the next ten years!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fart Splatter

    Most of the NBA players don't make that much money. So the lockout is a HUGE deal for them. And yes most have a college education but look where that is getting other graduates today and the NBA player has no experience other then basketball. For those that have made big bucks in the NBA, maybe they should take a few younger less fortunate players under their wing during this time.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      I thought they had a Degree?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadenuffyet

      Well , that was their choice. It all goes back to greed. The thought of " What will I do when I can't keep up' never enters their minds. They all hope for endorsement deals or commentary jobs. Heaven forbid they actually do something productive.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chris

    This will just give the good ol' boys some more time going around the hospitals with santa hats on and giving gifts to all the kids who are really in need. (Although they may be too busy!)

    November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dennis610

    Greedy players and greedy owners. I hope the NBA never comes back anyway, the sport is terrible...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Patrick

    Who Cares? I mean seriously it's a terrible game, destroyed by the cult of ME. There's no fundamentals left in the game and the guaranteed contracts can paralyze a team that makes a bad move – you can't get rid of bad players they just hang around year after year collecting obscene salaries for nothing.
    These primma donnas should all p*ss off to Greece and Italy and maybe their taxes will help turn the Euro around.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jayo745

    Dump it...and dump every other sport where the players think they are more important than the sport itself. Start televising more collegiate sports where the players are out there more for the love of the game and less to feed their egos. Palleeeasse, before I die....may I be able to flip on the television on a Sunday afternoon to see a rugby match or college football game instead of these egocentrical losers....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NBA = ENRON

    NBA TO FILE THE LARGEST BANKRUPTCY.....

    NBA players job. MCDONALDS!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nagrom

    Millions out of jobs and more losing homes and these morons want mo money? Give us a break. All I can say is good riddance. I hope they never play basketball again and join the ranks of middle and lower class people begging for decent paying jobs. Hope they learn how to flip burgers. Oh and maybe Cain will hire them on as pizza delivery persons.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
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