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. fkjslkfjlsfjd

    no more basketball? About time we had a reason to get rid of those monkeys on tv.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Nobody N. Particular

    I can't stand professional sports, just like I can't stand professional politicians. Bunch of "grown men" playing a game for obscene amounts of money; how f'd up is our society when we complain about no money for teachers, but there millions for NBA players? NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB are just our version of gladitorial games, which were used to distract the masses from the reality that surrounds them (not unlike how it is today). I like sports, like college and high school, which encourages team work and physical activity, but to have a bunch of men crying how being paid millions of dollars a year is not enough to play a GD game is just too much. However, if I were to take a side in this, I would choose the owners, since they are the ones who are taking the financial risk, and recently have been lossing money, the players make money regardless of how the team does.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dan Bee

      Bravo... Well said. Cry baby millionaire that quit school to follow the money. Good luck with those home and car payments!!! – Now you can see how the rest of us live – you know.......... htose that WERE buying your tickets and jerseys!!! Go Volleyball, Cycling, Golf, Anything but NBA – Oh I forgot – College Hoops are WAY BETTER anyway.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dbuzz

    Now who are we gonna get to pay our taxes for us?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wonder Worm

      i guess we can count you out

      November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sassan

    People fail to realize is that WITHOUT YOU working for the company you work with, they will get by just fine in replacing you. The players on the other hand, MAKE THE NBA and other local businesses make revenue. The players are already agreeing to a cut from 57 to 51%. Those who blame the players tend to be racists who think the players should "shut up" and be satisfied with being treated unfairly.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diogenes

      There are 100's of other top college players who could be hyped beyond recognition my money grubbing media, when deep down inside they are not that much better. Flush the goup and pick another and in 2 years all will be forgot.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Actually, anybody who blindly sides with the players and calls people who don't racisists, are the REAL racisits!!!!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jack

    How long before Obummer comes up with a jobs plan for union NBA players? 3-2-1

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Zee Adasava

    Who cares. Millionaires fighting with millionaires. It's business poorly disguised as sports. And the one can do without it. Union of these people is a joke.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dan Bee

      Agree

      November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shoyaryt

    Boycott the NBA!! Even if and when it does come back... Boycott the NBA for a solid year! No tickets... no NBA merchandise... no NBA jerseys... no NBA satellite/cable packages... NOTHING! Since money seems to be the bottom line of this Lockout, I'd like to see how they'd function without any revenue from fans.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Matt

    You are an idiot racist that should keep your thoughts inside your ignorant head. The truth is all sports, businesses and many other organizations go through this type of process but in your mind since the majority of NBA players are black they should just take whatever is offered to them. You are a true bigot that is still stuck in the slavery days! Get over it or keep your prejudice mouth closed!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. NBA GARBAGE

    NO WHITE PLAYERS FOUND IN NBA!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Wonder Worm

    BFD!!! Not many people will miss them.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Diogenes

    So each side takes 40% (2 x 40%=80%) and the remaining 20% disappears as they lower the hyper-inflated price of everything NBA (tickets, jersier, burgers at the game). If they do not like it tax it away from them

    November 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Reason

    The flow of money to the players, the owners, the cities who benefit from the games, the tax base loss, the ancillary services, all the employees who work for the arenas, all suffer because the players are greedy.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Swapnil Sharma

    The Dallas Mavericks may get to be 2012 World champions too !!!!!!!!! (No Season :P)

    November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. J Walker

    Why can't they just say screw the players and hire all new ones, recreate the NBA. Who wants to watch a bunch of spoiled cry babies play anyway.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sandy

    What is wrong with you??? Take your racism someplace else and learn how to spell and puncuate properly....jerk!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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