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. Sally

    Racism and ignorance is alive and well. If the NBA players are getting rich off of playing basketball then owners and the league are making that much more millions off of their talent. Perhaps more owners should look like the players that they represent.

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

      maybe the players can invest their capital into the teams before they start playing or after for that...they take no risk but want all the benefits

      November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      The players take no risk? Based on the sale of recent loser clubs, the owners take no risk. One wrong move (by anyone) and a player's health, continued earnings, and even life could be at stake. The average career is about 5 years, so their level of risk is magnified. I think you've got the story backwards: the players take more risk than the owners because they're not just risking money.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Balanced

      The issue is that the owners lost approximately $300 million last year alone – partly their own fault, for paying too much in salaries to players. Unions were certainly needed at a period of time – where owners absolutely over profited off the players. That was a long time ago.

      The unions demands at this point are absolutely ridiculous. As many have pointed out – the players don't take any risk. They can sign a huge contract and perform terribly – while the owners pay their salary and lose money.

      Unions – in general – were a great thing when they started (and much needed). However, they've got way out of control. This is a great example of what's wrong with them.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jroc

      Actually, the problem is the owners dont share revenues between themselves. The NFL has every team PROFITABLE...because big markets take care of little markets.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • GatorALLin

      ...Yeah, Unions were great and needed when there was no way to fight abuse... now the unions are the bullies and abusers. Funny how that happens in real life (the abused turn into the pedophiles, etc..). Those that were bullied, turn into bullies when they get bigger/older. Same trend here for sure.... Interesting how we all lose when they fail.... reminds me the baseball and world series being canceled. I never watched another one...with so much great entertainment on TV now, so easy to fall in love with something that loves you back.... Next time, can they agree to keep playing and then just figure out how to split up the money later.... maybe both sides get a max of 40% each then the money in the middle you are still asking for gets put in a bank that gets split up later when you can agree not to disagree anymore... then we all win... you keep playing... Just saying.....(sung to rap music of course)...

      November 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • BR-Arizona

      Actually sally, except for some large markets, most owners are losing money the last 2-seasons. That is why they have been so strident in their demands. That said, behavior by both parties is deplorable.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      How about more white players in the NBA ?

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

      RaCIST, WHERE ELSE ARE BLACKS SUPPOSED TO GET JOBS?

      November 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • usama

      الرجاء من الاصدقاء فى جميع صحف وجرائد العالم توصيل الشكوى الى جميع منظمات حقوق الانسان
      وايضا جميع محاكم حقوق الانسان وخاصة المحكمة الاوربية لحقوق الانسان
      انا الكاتب الصحفى والشاعر/ أسامة البردينى عضو المنظمة العالمية للكتاب الافريقيين والاسيويين
      الذى عانيت من الحصار لمدة لا تقل عن ثلاثين عاما وحتى الان اننى اتقدم اليكم بالشكوى ضد كلا من
      السيد/ الرئيس محمد حسنى مبارك واعوانه ممن هم قائمون معه على السلطة أن السلطة المصرية الى الان
      لم تقوم بتسليمى اموالى وايضا لم تقولى بتسليمى للجائزة الخاصة التى فوزت بها كما انهم لم يعوضوننى عن سنوات الحصار
      التى عانيت منها كثيرا سابقا وحتى الان أننى لم اتنازل عن الشكوى ضد الرئيس محمد حسنى مبارك واعوانه كما اننى
      لم اتنازل عن عدد الشكاوى السابقة التى سبق وتقدمت بهخا اليكم
      كما اننى اطلب منكم ايضا سرعة ارسال لجنه لتقصى الحقائق ولجنه تعمل على تقويم وتفعيل حقوق الانسان فى مصر لان القائمين
      على السلطة فى مصر لا يحترمون حقوق الانسان او حتى العاملين والقائمين عليها
      انا لم اتنازل عن الشكوى ضدهم كما اطلب سرعة التحقيق والاستمرار فيه مع السلطة المصرية
      التى الى الان لم تقوم بتسليمى اموالى فى البنوك كما اننى اخبركم بانهم يحاولون استغلال اموالى من خلف ظهرى
      ودون ارادتى وانا ارفض ذلك كما اننى اخبركم اننى مستهدف فى مصر من السلطات المصرية الحقيرة وارغب
      فى سرعة الانتقال خارج مصر باقصى سرعة ممكنه انا الاضهاض وتدبير المؤامرات مازال مستمر من السلطة المصرية
      وانا معروف للجميع ولكنهم ينكرون وجودى من اجل عدم حصولى على حقوقى من هذه السلطة الحقيرة القذرة
      الرجاء سرعة المساعدة
      كما اطلب سرعة تمكينى من استلام اموالى فى مصر للاهمية القصوى
      مقدم الشكوى/ الكاتب الصحفى والشاعر/ اسامة البردينى
      عضو المنظمة العالمية للكتاب الافريقيين والاسيويين
      رقم هاتف/٠١١١٦٣٦٦١٥٤
      الرجاء من الاصدقاء سرعة توصيل الشكوى
      حاصل على الحرية المطلقة ولكن لم استطيع التمتع بها فى مصر لانهم فى مصر لا يعرفون معنى الحرية ولا يفهمون معنى للحرية

      November 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MsMHS

      And why shouldn't the owners make more money than the players - they are the ones who put up their funds to fund the team!!!!! Why is it that people think everyone should be paid the same amount? Get a brain.

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

      Exactly NO OTHER industry would allow its employees to take home even 50% of the profits...But these idiots think they will win that battle in the court of public opinion...

      November 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jroc

      SIMPLE...the Players ARE THE PRODUCT.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael T

      Yes but if the loss of $300,000,000 is correct then the owners have no choice. Give in and go belly up or fight and survive but do not do nothing. Losing not money is the owners only option. Done!

      November 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I wonder who Michael Jordan looks like then?? Oh wait.. He looks like an owner. Quit bringing race into this.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Yep, and now that there won't be a season, he is actually going to make a profit on the Bobcats. How counter intuitive is a profit generating season when you don't play any games.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amused

      Sally- Owners should look like the players they represent? You mean owners like Michael Jordan (the most vocal of the owners)? And the owners don't represent the players. That is why the players have the union.

      Compare this with the NFL discussions recently. Those players came in with representatives and ALL of them were wearing suits. The NBA players are coming in dressed casual and are not serious.

      There was a family owned factory here that used to sit down every year with the union and hammer out a new contract that was fair to both. Then a firebrand came in promising the everyday workers the world. They went on strike. The family decided they didn't need the hassle and closed the factory. The workers lost everything.

      I read recently that someone suggested that Stern and the Union head just sit down and hammer out an agreement and then work from there. Doesn't sound like it happened or, if it did, they just couldn't hammer one out.

      It will be interesting to see what happens now.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Show me another industry where the owner splits profits with the employees 50/50. A concession, as the players are actually making more than the owners at this point.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      There are plenty of industries in which salaries account for greater than 50% of revenues. Management Consulting. Law. Education. Basically any service industry where the product is the expertise of the employee rather than a physical object (of which basketball qualifies). It's really not that unusual.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Reality

      LOL. Could you imagine that mess then? That is the funniest post I have read this century!!! POST OF THE YEAR!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Hey Sally, when was te last time an NBA player put his money on the line to buy a team, organize sponsorship, pay scouts, hire employees and then deal with the media/players/unions and all the politics that goes with the dream of playing ball? There might be one or two, however I doubt they are the majority and most don't share a tenth of te liability of team ownership, leta be honest the players receive fair compensation and if they feel otherwise then go start a new league and try their luck. But no, they want more for doing the same or less.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      Huh? Are you really that dumb?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • JesusWasAJew

      Racist generalization...Those players are all wearing expensive suits! And gold chains are worn in the front, redneck.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Aaaahhhh The old race card. That does not work anymore. so nice try Sally These greedy players deserve to be shut down. All you BB fans. You are paying for their greed

      November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      Stupid remark.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      Yes, of course, owners must worry about players making $5 million per year as if they are little paupers. What planet do you live on?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh

      get out with that racism crap until you learn what the word means.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juggalo 6

      Racism? Where are the white boys on that stage? Why do ignorant people always have to throw the race card? I guess Michael Jordan doesn't own the Charlotte Bobcats then does he? It's a white guy in a MJ mask right?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I agree...The NBA is full of racism..They keep the whites out! That's bull. Great point Sally.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      ...look like the players they represent? What are you talking about? The team owners do not represent the players. The players are the employees of the owners / league. Try this with your employer tomorrow and see how far it gets you.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      How long will this take to become a "racial" issue...before Jesse Jackson comes out of the woodwork?

      November 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      Uneducated blacks?

      November 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      Uneducated blacks, haha?

      November 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julie

    Quite disgusting that during this time in our country where we have Occupy Wall Street because of the money hungry corporations and inequality of pay for the middle class and below, the basketball players do not seem to get they are over paid prima donnas. It is virtually impossible to attend any of these games and pay a reasonable price for a ticket any longer. The players are out of touch and maybe not playing basketball for a year or two and finally settling for much less in the end, they will get a dose of reality.

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

    Over paid brats,you poor fools have walked away from millions and poor old 99% will pay no more ha ha,see if a fast food joint will hire you

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

    Imagine how productive we would be if we got rid of professional sports. Bunch of overpaid divas.

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

      Ok first off, if we got rid of professional sports, the moral of the public would hit rock bottom, as well as some states going into mass chaos. Sports are America's pastime, without it, im not sure we would have total unification between states.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Agree with many of the posts– I only feel for the folks trying to make an honest living, operating concessions and keeping the "palaces of play" in good shape. I do not feel any bit of remorse for players or owners. This is what OCCUPY Wall Street is all about. Both parties are greedy and out of touch with the fans and the general public concerns. Thank Goodness for HS and College Sports. I will not miss the NBA ever. Tony–fed up with the greed!

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

      Totally agree with you Chip... get rid of all Spectator Sports and see the difference. We're just wasting our precious time and money watching these divas who earns millions and still complain.

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

      Imagine how productive you would be if you were not posting this article. Do some research on how sports impact to the economy.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS

    It's better to SHUT DOWN NBA ENTIRE YEAR..... They should've shut up and play the game. We already extremely large stadium and that isn't enough for NBA.

    What's wrong with new stadium?!?! Empty seat. Ask Lebron james and Kobe why you cost too much.

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

    I agree with Natalee. The players and the owners are greedy and do not care in the least about their fans. They make way too much money for playing a "game." Just little boys playing a big man's game. Our fire fighters, police officers, teachers and soldiers actually provide value with many of them putting their lives on the line everyday. Our values are completely out of whack.

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

      Agree 100%...Value add to society is not considered in the equation. Only how advertising dollars are spent to get more people to spend money they dont have on things they dont need to impress people that dont matter.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Yup. This is part of the reason that our society is doomed.Misplaced values . Sports are more important than cops or teachers. See who we value more by their pay. Sick isnt it!

      November 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Panthro

    on this picture, I only see about 2 or 3 that should not only not get what they want, but should take a pay cut, most of these guys here are sorry.

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

    I'm around a lot of sports fans and I'm a member of a football/basketball officials association. I don't know of one person who really cares if there's an NBA season or not. It seems a mystery how these teams generate the kind of revenue they do when most Americans tend to treat pro basketball more and more like soccer.

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

    See ya later NBA. We don't care for the way you play basketball based on market share not rules anyway.

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

    btw the Commis and the Owners what a Bailout,...don't give it to'em....Decertify and cancel the 2011-2012 season. I am a NBA fan...

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

    Natalee, I agree with you 100%. These prima donnas are too stupid and uneducated to appreciate the vast amount of money they make, especially those who also get product endorsement contracts worth far more than the millions they get from their game. They cheat the fans and they cheat all the "little people" without whom no game would ever be played – ticket takers, parking lot attendants, consession workers, janitors, et al. Once they start defaulting on their mortgages and have to move to less impressive digs they will begin to realize just how great they really had it.

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

    College basketball is better anyway. Let the NBA finish their long slide to irrelevance.

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

    Great, I hope they never play again. Unless Bob Cousy comes back!!!!!

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

    Unions had done this country well until they also got GREEDY. Maybe now is the time for all unions to disband? What about the football and baseball players? And what about SAG (Screen Actors Guild)? Sorry, but all of these outrageous salaries are out of hand!

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

      I agree. I think Unions have out-lived their usefullness. Now they are little more than legally recognized mobsters!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Les

    We do not need the NBA. It has become boring – besides, I believe that owners have a right to make sure that they are profitable. The players are greedy and we can well do without them. They can donate the combined salaries towards the have-nots OR go to hell.

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