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. bert f.

    If the owners didn't try to outspend one another by biding ridiculous salary offers to free agents, the NBA wouldn't be in this mess. The collective bargaining agreement the owners are looking for is one that forces owners to live within their means.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gene

    Ask me if I care. I could care less about sports. Thats old world, its pablum. It does nothing for society anymore.

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

      It's couldn't care less – not could care less. Jeez.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Panthro

    It's kinda tough to argue with all these comments, they are absolutely correct. These guys make a killing "playing" basketball, they get fame (if they are good) money, women on the side (not that it is a good thing, if they are married) and still they want to make more. It's tough not to hate on them, since most of us have to get up at 5 in the morning and do a full 10 hour workday in the sun, while these freaks play all their games indoors. Must be nice.

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

      They have a right to ask for more money the same as we do. If you saw a 7 footer changing the oil in your car you would ask him, "why aren't you playing basketball". It's no different than Exxon Mobile making billions of dollars in profits and an employee thats making 90K to ask for a raise if she feels she contributed to the company earning the profits. Should we tell her, YOU'RE already making enough money, look at the people working at target they only make $9 bucks an hour.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rooster Cogburn

    Bring out the scabs...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brandon

    These players are completely clueless aren't they!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robin

    NBA players will learn that "greed is not good. Families are suffering due to hard economic times, yet they strike their thug poses on stage and demand more and more. Wealth does not breed class. I hope the NBA does not return or when it does, there is a new era in contacts and salaries that are 50% less than the players last contact. Take it or leave it.

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

      Why are you so concerned about how much money they make..would you prefer that they worked for free like college players. Then the owners and NBA franchise would make the billions..which would then make them slaves. I guess that would make you happier if they were in your class.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. educated_marshall tucker

    I don't understand the hate towards these athletes, they were born with a talent to play basketball and there's a market that exists that enable them to earn millions of dollars to dribble a ball..it's no difference than Tom Cruise getting millions of dollars for acting in a movie..you all aren't ranting and raving about how actors salaries are too high and how they should go back to trailer parks and suburbs or corn fields.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parentof4

      The difference between NBA players and Tom Cruise is, you don't see Tom Cruise going out on strike and suing movie producers for not offering him more money to do a movie. He gets what he gets in his contract – nothing more, nothing less – and he knows it. He's not some ignorant thug who believes he still deserves more on top of what has already been agreed to in terms before the service he performs (acting in a movie).

      NBA players (and really, any professional athletic organization that makes crazy money) have no right to make this crazy money, then take their employers to court for not offering them more.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack The Tripper

      I don't see actors striking and asking for more money. Do you?

      If you think actors get too much money then don't go to movies or watch tv. If you think pro athletes make too much money don't go to games. I got a feeling there won't be too many people at NBA games once it comes back.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cardsfan

    you are truly pathetic,you know white boys play in the N.B.A too...too bad your blind ignorance gets in your way to see

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

      What is a white boy?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. schrish

    I love it that the season will be canceled! Both greedy parties will lose financially! I laugh at these clowns. I say the more delays, the more bitter and fruitless the negotiations, and the greater the financial loss to the NBA

    November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dont Care!

    Hahahahahahaha........If the NBA goes away tomorrow who would know? Not this guy!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Free Willy

    Hopefully College basketball players won't strike. They should be paid if they play in NCAA tourment, serious. They play a better game. I never watch the NBA, so I won't be missing it

    November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • newshamg

      College is crap ball for crap players. Not your fault you can't distinguish the two I guess.

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

    Tell the Commish and the "Owners" to have fun in their empty stadiums. But you know what, they don't give a #$% they are empty for B-ball, which is part of the problem. The players not only have to disband but will have to decertify, that simple. The season has to be cancelled at this point. Celtic/Knick fan here BIGTIME (figure that one out), and I'll be in the back shootin jumpers like 3....2......1.....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robin

    What a waste of the court system. These and all atheltes are way over paid. When is enough, enough. Some of these folks make more money a year than they could spend in a life time, if they would learn to live in a less elaborate fashion. Its athletes and movie stars that are creating so many issues in the economy. They get paid these huge wages, while all of the hard working folks barely make a living. I guess NBA players only play the game for the money, they are getting just as bad as doctors and surgeons. All are becoming blood suckers.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melpa

      That's right. It is the people doing the work for too high a salary that is the problem; not the people doing little/none of the work and collecting 11.5 bilion in bonuses for saving the company 1 million by shipping all the jobs overseas, not giving raises to the workers for 8 years who only make 12.00 an hour or by laying off 30 pecent of the workforce. It is certainly the guy next to you making 20.00 an hour that we should be blaming. Come on people....use your head every once in a while.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. conoclast

    Gawd, you mean we're stuck with hockey for the winter? Then this will surely be The Winter of Our Discontent!
    Well, there's still the WNBA... April is still a loooong way off though!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. leftywriteagain

    Greed has ruined our middle class. Greed will ruin this year season.

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

      I agree just greed

      November 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
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