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. bigrush

    The problem here is Derek Fisher and Hunter.. Kick them out and get someone in there that understands numbers.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Former Nuggets fan!

    I am tired of the antics of the players, arrogance of the league and greed by both. Goodbye NBA.....plenty of other opportunities for me to spend my time and money.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AJay

    Millions of people unemployed. Thousands have lost homes to foreclosure. The poverty level in this country climbing higher by the day. Children waking up hungry all across the U.S. because their parents can't afford food .... and these multi-millionaire basketball playing playboys can't come to an agreement over how many more millions they should make each year? Seriously? As far as I am concerned, the NBA should roll up the door mat and call it a day. They obviously have become so self absorbed and money hungry that they have no concept of what is happening in this country and across the globe. Millions are suffering. Millions without jobs. Thousands losing their homes to foreclosure. World markets failing in chaos. I won't lose a minute of sleep if there is no season OR if the NBA disappeared all together at this point. Most of the play off and championships became predictable and were most likely rigged anyway. Goodbye NBA and it's spoiled little men. I shan't miss you .... one .... little.... bit!

    November 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Morgan

    This is disgusting. These guys are a bunch of money grubbers and thugs. Kids look up to them and the only thing they can think of if how much more money they can make. My hope is that they all loose their fan base for this and in turn their ridiculously stupid salaries.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BillDog

    Bye Bye,2011-2012 season..The.NBA may never make it back to what it once was as the games basically stink and there is really no interest until April/May even though the season starts In October.When/if the league rsumes, it will with 4-6 less teams.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tom

    Yawn. Most people wouldn't care one bit if the NBA ceased to exist. Life goes on.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jim

    Idiots.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Happy

    I'm happy, this technically ages lebron james one more year and doesn't allow him to get a championship yet. Anything to stop him from 7 championships.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. news50

    Anybody wanna buy some used bling or a Bentley? Are the car washes hiring?

    November 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ken

    It is my fervent hope that this will mark the beginning of the end for the NBA. Let the players spread their wings and fly overseas. There are plenty of good leagues in Turkey, Italy and China. We certainly don't need an NBA, we have college basketball anyway. They wear the same shoes and shoot at the same basket.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ex-Sonic Fan

      You do realize that we won't have college basketball at the same caliber if there is no NBA. Same reason we haven't had good professional soccer in this country for years... all young athletes don't see a future in soccer (nor do their influential parents) so they play baseball, football and, yes, basketball as they grow up. Hopefully that will change and we'll see more soccer stars in our future!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Yawn

    Yawn.... no basketball oh the horror .. i dont even consider this a sport when some guy that is 7 foot tall with an almost 32inch reach slam dunks the ball... give me a 3ft midgit on a springboard doing a somersult dunk and Ill watch that

    November 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DR

      New campaign...Millions for Midgets!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Unfan of NBA

    Good riddance NBA! Hello NHL!

    November 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      there's still an NHL???

      November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshall Tucker

      Basket ball blows, hockey rules

      November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      I use to say the same thing Dee, then a friend of mine started explaining the game to me, and showing me all the little tricks they do. Once you learn it, it's pretty amazing the skill the NHL players have.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bemused

    All of the posts rail about the millionaire players. However, the lockout was done by the BIILLIONAIRE owners who want as much of the pie as possible. This is a business where the owners are able to spin the numbers anyway they want to show how much they are suffering. Just like in Hollywood where there have been very few "profitable" movies or in other businesses which do not pay taxes because they are not "profitable." If the owners would open the raw books so both sides could see the real numbers, then this situation would have been resolved a long time ago.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      Sports teams are not profitable. Rich men buy them strictly for bragging rights.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • nhoj

      Who cares...this has become a greedy sport made up of Sleeze bag owners and homie players...way too much money in this game and really no real action. Tired of seeing all those tats!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • bemused

      Wow, where on earth did you get the idea that a sports franchise is unprofitable for the owner (including all franchise related income)? Was this from the commissioner who used the data from the owner's tax basis balance sheet? Was this from an audit of the owner's books? Also helps to make a distinction between the owner's profit/loss and the "franchises" profit/loss.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • phil s

      The owners should make more than the players, siginificantly more. They are the ones providing these lucrative opportunities to begin with. They are the ones that share all of the risk, as in any business. Im sure you dont make more than your boss, or the owner of the company you work for. This is ridiculous. Maybe if these guys were all teachers and actually doing something to better society, I could understand, but this is just insane.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ticoudog

    I'm taking orders for those foam #1 hands with the middle finger up instead.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JB

    Disband the league. College ball is much more interesting anyway.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • sksk

      I wonder what would happen with college basketball if there was no NBA for those players to strive for. Makes you wonder if it would fall apart too....or atleast have less of a pull.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pointed

      If the league goes away it would mean more players may actually play college ball for 4 years.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4gram8th.com

      there is plenty of opportunity overseas.. Basketball players have many options.. including starting their own league

      November 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • cwb3

      Actually, no. Pro-basketball is so much faster, more athletic, more complex, more precise, and more efficient than college basketball its not even comparable. Played at even an 85% level of intensity, say game 48 of an 82 game season, on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, the skill level and athletic level far exceeds the college game. Transitioning from the NCAA to even the European professional leagues, requires a player know about spacing, movement, and have razor sharp reaction-times, in a way that is not seen with college ball. That's why most college players end thier basketball years. . .in college. Yeah sure, college hoops got all the fans bouncing up and down and the college players flailing about the court like thier lives depend on it. Looks nice on the surface, but the NBA shreds that.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeytoVictory

      Wonderful response, cwb3. Oh, and that's Derek Fisher, not Billy Hunter in the caption.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
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