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. the NHL

    Woo-hoo! Monopoly. Well, after January, anyway.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • I support the Players

      ESPN still won't acknowledge the NHL. They'd rather turn Sportscenter into a 30 minute segment on the legacy of Joe Pa, followed by a 30 minute segment on how Tebow is transforming the QB position, than acknowledge that hockey is being played.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      @Isupport – don't forget NASCAR, fishing and poker.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • trixxy

      my friend's step-mother makes $78 every hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for 6 months but last month her check was $7814 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read this web site CashHard.com

      November 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. klownboy

    Say goodbye to the NBA for a long time. Common sense is not all that common, especially in this case. And the NBA and its players could easy fix the problems facing the NBA, outlined here: http://theklowntimes.net/2011/07/27/how-i-would-fix-the-nba/

    November 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Straight

      Can't say I would ever miss the NBA. Season too long and each game means too little to the overall outcome. Lazy play, fouls galore, traveling on each lay-up and palming the ball on each dribble.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. marsha

    so sad, grown men making millions of dollars, and they won't settle for less? II know I am not the only one who thinks there is something way wrong when sports players make millions every year, but teachers make less than 100K for the most part, even after 20 plus years. Every time the players make more, ticket prices go up, an average family can not afford to go to any pro games. Only the rich.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      This is capitalism at its finest.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • GPerform

      The multi million dollar players are the minorty in the NBA just so you know...

      November 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Here's the fact

      The average salary for an NBA player in 2009 was $5.84 million!!! Gotta give them a shoulder to cry on . . . right??

      November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      G Perform – The newly expired NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement set forth a minimum salary of over $2,000,000. So, by mathematical definition, every NBA player is a multi-millionaire.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      They are the product. Without them there would be no NBA. There are a lot of people that can step up and be owners. They are the ones you should be directing your hate towards. We heard the same BS through the NFL lockout. Those guys play an average of 3-4 years. Thats it....they should get their pay day for sacrificing their bodies. Kids game....when have you ever seen kids lay hits like those in the NFL? Drop your hatred and move on....

      November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Here's the fact

      @bczu – many received, and most offered a full college scholarship to college. They have been given the opportunity for a degree on a platter. When they finish basketball they can fall back on that degree. Fire them all and offer jobs to those willing to accept pay like the rest of us. Hum, how many of them would be willing to "play" for the same $80k I make?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      Just like everything else. When the rich get tax breaks the 99% taxes raise

      November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darrell

      Awesome point Marsha

      November 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. amazed2

    Wow... I guess the players don't notice the thousands of empty seats at most arenas........

    November 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. aNN

    ha ha , sucks to be you

    November 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      NBA franchises should just start hiring scab players that play professionally in East Europe and else where and give them a shot and let the striking players watch from the stands.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. whocares

    let them get real jobs now.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • dontbemad

      just cause you make little to nothing do be mad.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jimbo

    Just cancel the NBA all together, nobody will notice. I would rather watch women's sand volleyball anyways.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshall Tucker

      Womans volleyball is great, yet I always feel dirty after watching it.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kdkardiac

      Amen to that......I spent a week once watching the last minute and 25 seconds of an NBA game.....finally turned it off on the Tuesday of the following week with 39 seconds left and some overpaid dolt fouling his counterpart....again.....then chest-bumping his teammates and then haveing a another time-out

      November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tb3326

    Remind me, what is the NBA and does anybody really care or miss it?

    November 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexasAnnie

      Marshall– maybe getting a good education would help....

      November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. glu

    This is great news, I am very happy about this. I hope the NBA folds. Long live the NHL as they will benefit greatly because of the greed of overpaid bums.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshall Tucker

      I agree, Hockey takes skill and talent, Basket ball you just have to be tall. No talent at all.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      Marshall, all you have to be is tall? You are completely out of your mind and full of hate. I dont even like basketball and I know that statement is full of s***.

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

      Got a point there....for every Mugsy Bogues the are 300 dudes over 6'8"....just sayin'....

      November 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ken at the Lake

    Best news I have heard all day! Let us see ALL of the great college hoops, even HS is better than these spoiled over paid "athletes"

    November 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Yup

    My 10 Million is just not enough.......are you freaking kidding me, your not a god.....I think they should cap all sport figures....go back to the love of the game or go home.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshall Tucker

      I think capping them is a great idea. Put a cap in all their @sses

      November 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Yup

    I dont care how good you think you are.......your far from suffering......I have not pitty.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Marshall Tucker

    Scrap the season and the league. Basketball sucks balls, its only for inner city punks to still have a dream.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • educated_marshall tucker

      @marshall..does steve nash fall into your category of inner city punks...please continue hating..it makes you look more ignorant

      November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tarkin

      @educated Marshal Tucker – Who's Steve Nash? No . . . really. The reality is we ARE ignorant of basketball because we don't care and are glad to see it go.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. da_rick

    i was a long time nba fan. but after this showing of incredible greed from both sides, i am no longer a fan. there are people barely getting by in our country and these players cant affort a little pay cut!! its incredible. i urge all "fans" to not be so forgiving this time.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshall Tucker

      Really good players should make 20$ an hour the rest should get 15$ an hour. No more no less.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      Marshall, maybe if you spent more time working you would make more. But no, you spend all your time trolling forums.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. A wolf in sheep's clothing

    David Stern... arrogant David Stern. The ball's in your court MISTER Stern.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • phil s

      Why is the ball in Stern's court? The idiot players want to make more than the owners, which is ridiculous, the league rejected their offer, and now the players are suing. Whats your point here?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
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