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

    Who cares. If they don't want to play. Don't play. They are only hurting themselves. Noone cares about the NBA until the playoffs anyway. College basketball is better all around. I hope it never comes back. I am so tired of hearing about this idiocracy.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Henry Miller

    "The “collective bargaining process has completely broken down,” NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter said."

    That's because the "collective bargaining process" is fundamentally monopolistic and thus extortionate, and that's as true of public-employee unions as it is of basketball players.

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

    This is a miracle. A man with no brains can actually type in his computer. Good for you !

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

    how can these guys complain about money? with all the people being laid off, salaries being cut,...how can these guys be sooo freakin selfish.

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

    Oh well, make sure you guys setup a budget, cut out coupons and file for unemployment. Must be tough to have more money than most people will make in a lifetime yet still need more.

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

    So is the NBA going to refund the taxpayers for building their arena? They promised to provide games.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. It is sad

    In other words Stern was saying... "I can't believe you didn't fall for the bluff, and called me out in public.. I wonder if the NHL is looking for a commissioner because I am sooo screwed."

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

    In other news we are still at war with thousands losing their lives to that and those that survive come back to a poverty stricken third world nation with a useless governing body......genocides are happening...blights and famines still on the rise....with a little side of genocide.....and yet I have to worry about a glorified thug getting an extra few million to throw a ball through a hoop

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

      Stop the military analogies – it is insulting to the military and the general public.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. irish man

    Dont really care if I have to watch NBA repeats this season...Who cares...go f yourselves...all of ya

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

    Greedy SOB's

    November 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Johnny V

    Is this the 1% the Occupy (Your City Here) are talking about? Seems like pure unadulterated greed to me. Good. Go ahead and fold up the NBA. It is an absolutely important move....it's not like you have a job to go to.

    IT'S A FRIGGIN CHILDS GAME FOR CHIRST'S SAKE!!!! YOU ARE GETTING PAID...GO ASK THE HOMELESS PEOPLE ON THE CORNER IF THEY'D LIKE TO BE PAID TO PLAY GAMES!!!! MERRY FORECLOSURE TO YOU!

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

    These guys get paid millions of dollars for playing a kids' game. Please...dissolve the NBA completely and never come back.

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

    They are all a bunch of greedy idiots. I used to be a big NBA fan but after everybody started getting high and mighty they now make me sick to my stomach.

    Bring on the NCAA basektball!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Player1

    and once again... the unemployment rates rises in the United States due to a bunch of overpaid idiots

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

    Who cares... Does anyone even watch the NBA anymore, let the players try to find real jobs and actually work for a living like everyone else.

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