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. Joseph

    If the union is being disbanded, could some players decide to tell owners that they want to play, which in turn could prompt the league to start-up with its players not represented by any union??

    However, I think the most likely scenario is the cancellation of the entire season, and probably also the disbanding of the league, meaning there won't be major-league men's pro basketball in North America for at least two or three years until a new league, smaller (maybe 12 teams?) and run with a different financial model can be launched.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JOE

    Blame it on the Tea Party!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chris

    best part nba players are the highest for going bankrupt cause lack of self control and lack of knowledge of buying a 5 million dollar house and thats your whole contract equals broke that is so funny thats why national viewing will never beat nfl or mlb.

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

      I think they are all stupid. Anytime you spend your life chasing balls you have none.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • lancem

      So that's why they need more money...to make it rain.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Nice sentence structure ...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sean

    It is the players right to demand and set their pay! The bottom line is that the Owners want more than the players and to eventually break down the players and the prestige of being one. Think if it were you, wouldn't you want to keep the status quote? I know I would and to show that we are more valuable than the owners.

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

      The owners offered 50/50 split, the players are being greedy, I hope the NBA is through, forever. Paid millions to play a damn game, A GAME!!! The rest of us work out butts off to live paycheck to paycheck and we are suppose to feel sorry for these guys? NO.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • lancem

      And it is the owner right to say no. Employees can ask for a certain salary, but the owner has every right to say yes or no.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Topwater

    This is all on the players. They are being led to a huge downfall by short-sighted leaders. I hope the NBA goes away for a couple of years, teaches the players a bitter lesson about greed and comes back as a much better more humble product. I will predict that the ugliest behavior out of these miscreants is yet to be seen. Only time will tell.

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

      What about the punk as owners. They are greedy as well.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Terry Clifford

    Very few care about this.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dale

    If the 1%ers NBA players are not careful with the millions of dollars they have made while playing in the NBA, they may just end up becoming one of the 99%ers with all the other OWS people demand a free hand out.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Dugout

    run-on sentence...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. upol

    In the picture, what are all the black people staring at ?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mahogany722

      the same thing the white guys in the back are staring at...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. charms

    Rich guys being brats.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SO?!

    Derek Fisher, the union president for the players, said it was "the best decision for the players."

    Really? Whatever happened to, "we play this game for the fans!" and "its all about the fan" what a joke.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sean hicks

    funny I only see 2 white guys in the Pic.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chris

    blame it on obama thats his favorite sport wounder why idiots all hang together

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not surprised

      Really, I said I was only going to read a few comments and see how long it took for some idiot to blame this on Obama. You people are amazing. WOW! It is so hard at times to be a proud American because of the stupidity of our citizens.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mahogany722

      Really? Now this too is Obama's fault????....I wonder how you felt about Pres. Bush #2 when he was destroying the economy and all the other idiotic things he did.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Former Republican - Now Independent

    I belive that the owners should be looking at Stern and wonder how he managed to screw things up so badly.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Oricon

    They should be ashamed of themselves. They make so much money. Why can't they donate this 'extra' money to people who actually need it in our country. Basketball like most sports have become all about money, it is really sad to watch. The players and owners should be ashamed of what they've let this sport become.

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