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. Jason

    Does anyone really watch basketball anymore anyway? I lost interest years ago. Also, how can the players be so greedy, 50/50 wasn't good enough on top of the millions they make a year??? They deserve no season. Maybe this will be the end of the NBA, finally.

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

    Good ridence NBA. Haven't missed you and could care less if you play another game.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bobby

    Takes the fun out of watching the sport when selfish owners and players fight the endless tug-of-war over the FANS dollar. Pathetic and overpaid.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jason

    Does anyone really watch basketball anymore anyway? I lost interest years ago. Also, how can the players be so greedy, 50/50 wasn't good enough on top of the millions they make a year??? They deserve no season. Maybe this will be the end of the NBA, finally.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Olivedrab

    Excepting the MLK day games, listened, watched or attended every game Magic played. Love Fisher. Good man. Now. Don't trust the owners. Don't trust the players. Certainly don't trust the agents or the union. Don't care anymore. Decertify. Get lost.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JohnnyJett & The Dirty Socks

    David Stern, is the problem. He needs to go. Players are not being unreasonable to ask for fairness in the collective bargaining and negotiation of their stake in the NBA profits. I love to watch basketball, but I am tired of the fat cats and the egotistical dictatorship David Stern thinks he has, and if that means no basketball this season, then so be it. Sometime you have to take a stand!

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

      How much did the players or the union kick in to by the team. And since when is profit sharing a law. These parasite players make millions and want more. I hope the NBA shuts down for a long long time. I sure won't miss them....You have NO sense of values, You must be an Obama supporter.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NBA = ENRON

    I HATE NBA. BECAUSE THEY SOUND LIKE GREECE!!!

    Why can't they shut up and play the game like regular players do.

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

      Yeah, like the NHL (94-95 & 04-05 Lockout), MLB (94-95 Lockout), and the NFL (2011 Season Delay)

      November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ArizonaYankee

      Greedy UNION, Greedy Players, and neither one has a single dime invested...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sinjin405

      I love the game, but am so sick of these players. There are probably thousands of people being effected by this strike. The little guy who depends on this money, who are getting screwed by a bunch of selfish arrogant players. Where do they think they should get 50% or more for their services, plus many of them have contracts with clothing lines or other types of merchandising. Keep it up guys. You are so damn foolish. I'll find something else to watch. And am not far from it.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert104

      Remember the owners, they locked the players out.......not that I'm siding with the spoiled brats, I mean players.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Regular players?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      @Panda: The 2011 NFL regular season was not delayed. No one cares about preseason games.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Who cares? They are part of the evil one percent. The money saved from not funding the NBA will help pay for my increased healthcare, food, gas, education and taxes that have gone up 15 percent this year.

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

      Who "funds" the NBA and how will that mean more money for you?

      Here's a quick answer – it won't.

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

      Right on Mike – my thoughts exactly. Maybe the players can take this opportunity to get an education so that they can understand how the real world works.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I am just saying none of my hard earned money is going to pay overpaid, spoiled atheletes. There are more important things in life to pay for like my childs college. They can get a real job and try making it on 50K per year.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tj

    don't care.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. malibu123

    Who cares, the NBA sucks. I hope the league disintegrates because of this.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • b-baller

      I could not agree more. Let's start a Dismantle the NBA. Getting tired of the Occupy people anyway.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bobby

    Indy Jim hit it on the head... Bring in college players and start over..

    November 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JohnRJ08

    As far as I'm concerned, all professional sports can disband. It is a waste of money and energy. At least college sports provide some revenue for the schools - or, at least, they are supposed to.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    Will people please stop buying tickets and giving money to these fools (owners and players). The money wasted on professional sports could easily be used to turn our economy around. At least it could be used for something useful. If you are paying these clowns you are not part of the problem, you "are" the problem.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. whatAhit

    I could give a rip of they EVER have another season! The audacity is beyond words.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lefty

    I'll agree to the players have grueling seasons – and sometimes short ones. But I also have grueling work weeks, and sometimes long ones, with two weeks paid vacation and limited sick time. So I'm not going to cry a river over any football, basketball, soccer etc that feels he is getting underpaid when he's making millions. What wasn't on the table was lowering the cost of the tickets so the average family could go to a game without breaking the bank. Again, the little guy without money is left out. So in the negotiations, I think that the split should be 1/3 for players, 1/3 for owners, and 1/3 to be put into escrow for new stadiums when needed and lowering ticket prices to fans.

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