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. NBA lover

    More power to the underdog!!! THE NBA players have won in my opinion

    The owners never negotiated in good faith. They claim they are loosing money but won't open their books for inspection. Then they ptopodr a take or leave it offer and threaten to reduce the offer if they refuse the 50/50 split. Wow!! Talk about real DICTATORSHIP AND EXPOITATION!!!

    Go to court. Don't worry about the court of puplic opinion

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

    these uneducated idiots are destroying the sport the are a waste of oxygen there speech is just Ebonics and they should be forced to fight in Afghanistan to show them the meaning of unity and not all about there black assses

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

      Well if white guys actually had athletic ability then maybe your comments would be different.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rrock

    Maybe Stern could threaten them again with take the deal or we will take the keys away

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

    I don't need the money.....Bunch of arrogant ball players who never come to play hard anyways. Going to Europe CYA

    College is better and not taking a 50/50 split was a dumb move. There are people like me who would play for 1/4 of what these over paid divas are demanding

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

    Dear Commissioner Stern and NBAPA
    I Have a suggestion...players can have 52% of league revenue, HOWEVER, in the event of decrease in team revenue (measured monthly), player contracts will adjust accordingly (on a month to month basis). For the players it means: No more mailing it in, no more acting unprofessional (in season or out), and getting real market value for your services to the team AND community. For owners it means less financial risk, since salary burden will decrease and are also capped by ceiling of individual contracts but it also means allowing players FULL access to the books!. for coaches, it means players shwo up ready to practice, it means greater liklihood for teamwork and inhouse policing (players keeping players in-line) since everyones pay is affected regularly. Players if you want a bigger piece of the pie take the level of responsibility to go with it! Owners if you are gonna cry about profitability then open up the books entirely....win win

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

    As a whole , I support unions. Especially to the end of exploitation of workers and safety. But these guys don't deserve or need a union. This is a simple case of "more for the middleman" mentality. They're all overpaid , players , owners , all of them. They don't work basketball , they PLAY basketball.

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

      And now, they may be forced to go get jobs. It's just not fair!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      There is plenty of greed to go around-both owners and players. I think the NBA market needs a strike like this so both sides take a hit. Tough economic times should not spare anyone who is rich and greedy. I will watch college BBall!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Amen...I say bring in new players to entertain us and our families at a reasonable price. Better for everyone.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • TS

      I'm always surprised by citing "players of being overpaid" as the reason they should accept a bad labor deal and/or are at fault for the labor impasse. No player forced his salary from an owner at gun point. The players were courted by owners' agents (general managers) and induced by the owners to sign the very contracts that the owners (and some fans) now decry. Why is this the players' fault? Oh yeah, it's not.

      Stren argues the players should (1) absolve the owners of consequences of their own poor financial decisions i.e. to bail the owners out of bad (but freely agreed to) contracts already on the books and (2) limit owners' ability to do idiotic things in the future i.e. agree that the owners should only be able spend so much on players' salaries. Both of these demands should be anathema to Americans who otherwise thump their chests about capitalism and the free market. Hold owners to their contracts and let the free market decide what a player is worth? Not if Stern has anything to do with it.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rob

    Greedy losers all

    November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Yenta

    I really could care less about professional sports. It doesn't affect me one way or the other. People don't have the money to pay the astronomic prices for tickets anymore. Everyone is overpaid–players and owners. It's all about TV contracts–not the game.

    Maybe the sports fanatics can get interested in college basketball–or in soccer or Australian rules football or something else.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Charlie

    Good Riddance, NBA Divas !!! Avg NBA player salary tops a million/yr and they are complaining? No heartbreak from this camp if NBA cancels season. NCAA Womens B-ball is more enjoyable to watch than the NBA !!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chris

    and i have a phd in computer security and am a green beret so take that about uneducated !

    November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. al bud

    The day any of you can go 1 on 3 and hit the winning shot at the buzzer beater step right up. This is the only industry where the product is the worker. Go tell U2 or the Stones that their record label deserves more of the concert receipts, right. This is entertainment and if I had the money these owner had I'd pay whatever Kobe, Lebron, or Wade wants cause you can't find anyone else that will take you to the finals. Money isn't half as important to these guys as trash talking their rich buddies at finals time. These guys aren't hurting for money. the players have a limited career, not a life long one, owners can go through whole roster changes and still get a paycheck.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Enough with BRAND NEW STADIUM

    Stadium after stadiums.... BRAND NEW STADIUM.....

    STOP CONSTRUCT BRAND SUPER NEW STADIUM.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Willy Brown

    Who gives a S _ _t! Buh bye spoils no talent brats.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    I would rather watch European league basketball in the US-purer form of basketball–and actually better. Have lost interest in thug ball over the years....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. KawiMan

    Good! Hope the NBA fades into history!!
    This is the kind of pathetic sh!t that mystifies me. The players and owners make way too much for what they do. While many families in our nation are having trouble putting food on their tables, these guys are squabbling over the countless millions they make per year.
    This is symptom of a greater underlying problem. They are part of the 1%ers and should be treated accordingly!

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