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. anappo

    You are now part of the 99%. You can file for unemployment now.

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

    look at the token white guys in the back

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

    The WNBA is more exciting! Let's go girls!

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

    The NBA is a joke..nothing but a bunch of over paid, over rated, whiny divas...Probably better off canceling the next 4 seasons...Well...at least Lamar Odom will get to suffer from being with Khloe Kardashian....

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

    I hope it destroys the nba and then

    November 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Worst Game

    These need to take ACCOUNTANT. Seriously..... THEY NEED MATH.

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

    These guys are a bunch of overpaid, whining grown men who get paid millions to play a little boys game. I say fire them all and recruit a bunch of average guys that must come from the city of the team they play for. This would be more entertaining. Can you imagine offering a bunch of ordinary guys a couple hundred thousand to play basketball? You could offer them bonuses for winning and take money when they lose! Now that would be entertainment!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MustardBalls

    how bout we take all the money that we pay these guys and put it into our Schools instead?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew Reese

    Isn't basketball just played in college...??? There is a pro league for that...who knew???
    It is pretty bad when Americans would rather see soccer instead of basketball. I hope the greedy players and owners hold out for 3-4 years. That way, the league will not matter any more, and all of them loose their shirts. I will never watch these idiots ever again.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeremy

    Do it for the fans NBA players!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. flashtrum

    kind of hoping this is the beginning of the end of the ABSURDLY highly paid professional athlete. Maybe we'll see a competing league take shape where the game and effort given is more important than the thuggery off of the court.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. clnee55

    Obama must be very unhappy since the black unemployment will go up

    November 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chinatown

    F_ the NBA.....filled with a bunch of whiny players who want more $, just like every other sport's league......go F_ yourselves, NBA players, you're already over-paid

    November 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dhovakiin

    No NBA Season? Go buy Skyrim! It's a nice winter's worth of entertainment where Collective Bargaining means a bunch of people having at it with Warhammers and columns of fire. And yes, an "agreement" is always reached.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dean

    These players, part of the hated 1%, are too big for their britches. Demanding 57% of the revenue? Are you serious? In what other industry are owners FORCED to share any revenue with Workers? Not profit, but revenue? These fools need to go without for a year or two. I say disband the union and let teams sign players individually. VOID all contracts. Start over. No union.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
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