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. Three Dog Mama

    Won't be missed. Too bad it didn't happen to the NFL this year. Pro sports is a bunch of crap. These guys earn much too much against what they do. I mean, it is just a game. And should they get multi-million dollar salaries for playing just a GAME?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bull

      Probably bc people pay to see them; it's called supply and demand. No one wants to pay to see you clean dishes and make ham sandwiches.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. OverpaidWhiners

    Good, get these overpaid whiners off of my TV.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    they should have used a third party for this like NFL!!

    loosers! these guys are not business minded!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WOW

    Happy that I won't see the thugs that make up most of the NBA this year. Hoping for a long and tedious drawn out court case.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mejazzbo

    Not heros, not roll models, not victims of corruption. It's a freakin' game. Obviously both sides are oblivious to what is going on in this country today. No sympathy on my doorstep.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TriXen

    Basketball's boring anyhow...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jon

    don't care

    November 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ADG

    I think you are just jealous cause those "N"s got more money than you...wipe that tobacco juice off your lip, go kiss your sister and tell your kids/nieces/nephews/cousins you love them and your not going to touch them anymore.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      oh please, what do tou think alot of those tribal africans do with their families. Your just as ignorant as the hillbilly racists. Why don't you go practise playin basketball for an uncertain future. Lol

      November 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Maverick

    It looks like we are going to have a influx of really tall OWS protesters!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CommonSense`

    Great news, I think pro sports are horrible but many love them so there will always be a demand for it. Good enough. The idea presented that the players have a "right" to be paid what they are worth is interesting, though. Of course, they have no "right" to be paid for anything. Just like you have "right" to demand a raise from your employer. They have a contract to play for one of the franchises (not clubs or teams).
    Ok. They can terminate the contract, have both sides accept whatever financial responsibilities are a result of terminating the contract, and go their separate ways. You know, like the rest of us who have worked under contract.
    So, that means the players could now start their own league or go play in China or Brazil. Why not start your own league, divide up the players into whatever teams you like, and rent the stadiums from whoever owns them (what a taxpayer waste that has become) and just do it all yourselves.
    That's their RIGHT.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NBA = ENRON

    OVER PAID PLAYERS === BIGGER STADIUM. YOU CRAZY!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Razor

    They forget,,,,,those who pay them those overpriced salaries! Us the customer! Maybe we pay should pay you the min wage and send the overage to the teachers, scientist who make the real difference in the world...and yes it's not the NBA player.

    Who cares for Baseketball this year and forever...

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

      Who needs the NBA no one, the players and the owners can go to hell. We can use there tv time for good family time shows, and all the money people spend on tee-shirts, shoe's and the tickets can go some place where it's really needed! Good bye to greedy players and greedy owners.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lenabenas21

    I would imagine that as an NBA player, you go into the league knowing a few things right off the bat – 1. your time is limited, this is not a sport you play until the ripe old retirement age of 65. 2. career ending injuries can and do happen! 3. based on 1 and 2 – you better make all you can while you can. Athlete's have somehow managed to make massive amounts of money for several decades and so have the owners! I go to quite a few games every year and see thousands of people paying for tickets, overpaying for food / drinks and team merchandise – the owners need to be mindful that it's the players the fans come to see NOT the owners! Michael Jordan made some pretty strong statements about players deserving the credit not the franchise during his hall of fame induction speech but when it comes to his stake as part owner of a team – he seems to have forgotten his allegiance.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. alberto

    Are the boys not seeing economic depration hiting all businesses, they must be greedy if they can't agree to terms.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    Who cares....

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