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. Old Surf

    GREED, pure and simple, both sides! They are playing a game, it's entertainment, totally unessential! Forget this season, forget next season, It will be a while before I watch an NBA game or go to a game!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 4gram8th.com

    Great for them! The players need to stand up for their rights. yes they are millionaires but they are also the "nba" without them the game would not take place, so to get 52 percent of the revenue is more than fair. All the comments that are negative on here are all racially based so really they are pointless. David Stern and the owners need to realize who continue to make them rich and need systems in place for smaller market teams. At the end of the day the owners write the contracts so if they cant afford to pay millions then maybe they should pay less to make a profit, if they can unify for this why not unify and and agree not to undercut each other when it comes to player negotiations?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sam Barber

    No "NBA"? No problem. It had already long devolved into a playground shooting contest with no defense. The best basketball is already played at colleges.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4gram8th.com

      i disagree, its a game of the best of the best. You prefer college thats fine but to knock the NBA is just pointless.

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

    At least I'll be spared from reading about Iggy's woeful jump shot. That's a big plus.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David Friedman

    Yes to Football.
    Yes to Baseball!
    Yes to Hockey!
    Yes to Tennis!
    Yes to Track and Field!
    Yes to Formula One Racing!
    Boo Hiss to basketball.........for years!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • BioHzrd420

      I say YES YES YES to Formula One Racing! Hurry up Austin!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. What!!!

    When a company is not profitable it does not give their employees raises! Why do the greedy NBA players expect one?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4gram8th.com

      The sad part is that you dont realize this has nothing to do with raises, it has to do with how much of a pay cut to give the players.. the players are willing to give up some the owners want a lot more...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scott

    It's the 0.2 percenters versus the 0.1 percenters! We are the 0.2 percent!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MikeyD

    Well, at least they have their college degree to fall back on!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ian

    I would be in the "I'm Done" group, but I never liked NBA Ball anyway. Bunch of lazy-ball players who only show talent in the 4th quarter or playoff's. No matter what they say, it's not for the game, it's for the money.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CR from CA

    NBA players have 40 years of post-career to plan for. Maybe spend less on bling and save a couple of bucks. Why is it athletes all use the same argument that they only have a short career. Just because you're done with basketball does;t mean you can't do something else for the rest of your life. Sure it won't pay $5M a year and buy fast cars loose women and let you ride the private jet – welcome to the 99%.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LAsmog

    Rapidly losing interest in the NBA. This is like watching a fight between Goldman Sachs and Bank of America; I hope they both lose.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Geez...now they might have to get real jobs. Let's see how that goes for them.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Liqmaticus

    Sounds good. Overpaid players wont play this year. What will the world ever do?

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

    I can't get myself to care. Do I take the side of the millionaires or the billionaires? I guess I just want them to get back to work no matter what, so the janitors and all of the just-above-minimum wage workers don't go without work. All of the marketing and the trainers, and all the other folks who make a living off of the NBA that do NOT already make millions of dollars. That's whose side I'm on.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • BioHzrd420

      Only one side is signing the checks. As Chris Rock said "Shaq is rich, but the guy who rights his checks is wealthy"

      November 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankrhone

      Who cares? They are a bunch of overpaid illiterates anyway.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      NCAA is more fun to watch anyway.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BobMyKnob NBA

    Greed on both sides of the ball, screw 'em all!

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

      Greed Greed Greed – these players buy all these things , cars, houses, boats + more and then they realize they cant afford them, so now they want more money. They make people see them in a different light. I know I do. They are playing for their riches. There should be a cap on how much these people make! It's really ridiculous that they even make the money they do!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
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