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. sparky91

    Let them fold, "collective" bargaining should go the way of the dodo bird. Owners, stand strong!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Not a racist

    A guy on here called all negative comments racially motivated. Wow! That is great, your an idiot!

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

      Yeah – but the ones using the word thug I would guess would like to use the N word instead.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    one less NBA fan here.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jkINC

    College basketball is plentiful and more fun to watch anyhow. The ones that will hurt the most are the business owners and workers nearest the arena's, the players won't be flippin' burgers anytime soon.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tonelok

    @NBA Players
    If you want to be taken seriously, don't show up to a meeting to discuss the distribution of billions of dollars in a hoody, jeans and flat-bill. You fail as professionals and as adults and don't deserve even the smaller money you will make after the season.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brown

    None of these fools care about the sport! Shame on them all!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cubikrubik

    No one cares! Don't let the door hit you...K thanks buye!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. schrish

    I am very happy to hear that this season will be canceled. Both greedy parties suffer. I say the longer the delay in starting play, the more bitter and fruitless be the negotiations, and the greater economic loss to the NBA - the better! I love to see these clowns ruining themselves and their product. They both deserve it.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dutch Cartoon fan

    I hope they never work it out. I hate basketball. Maybe they could replace it with an interesting sport.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KJC513

    Wow, all this racist banter about 'ghetto kids eyeing the prize.' Sad that the individuals who are spouting this don't care to realize taht this is has just escalated through the years with the lucrative draw by GREEDY WHITE MEN. Just like the immigration laws; 'crap! now we have to do something because this has ONCE AGAIN, bitten me in the _ss.' It's a vicious cycle people and all you can blame is ourselves. Don't oppress people, educate our young on what is REAL; happiness, love, truth.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert2U

    Just talked with a friend of mine who is a lawyer. Someone filing a class action suit on behalf of Season ticket holders against the players union, NBA, and/or players and owners individually might actually have some chance if the season is actually canceled.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Roberto

    CORRECT PERSPECTIVE...The NBA is a business owned by the team owners. The players are the hired help. Of course they are talanted and worthy of their wages but it is NOT their business; they are the employees first and foremost. Collective bargaining aside, employees demanding 50% of revenue is absurd. The fact that the owners offered this, in my opinion, is surprising. SOLUTION: The owners simply need to take a page from Reagan’s book on accommodating the demands of the Air Traffic Controllers. Terminate the belligerent employees and hire new ones. Trust me for every good NBA player on the rolls now, there are two or three waiting in the wings that are just as talanted and would be thrilled to sell their services to the owners at 1/2 the current wages. This would ultimately increase the margins for the owners and lower ticket prices for the fans. After one or two seasons no one would care that the names have changed – it would still be baskball....

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

      Worthy of their wages? You are a idiot!

      November 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. scoto

    Wouldn't cross the street to watch any of them let alone pay for it. Never paid to watch a professional sports game in 40 years and never will. No worse for it either

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

      Exactly. There hasn't been a professional game that was a 100% legit for decades, in any sport.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mtb

    Anytime a UNION disbands, its a good day...

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

    Thank God! I would rather watch televised pick-up-sticks.

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