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. John

    Its a shame that there will be jobs lost such as Arena staff, vendors, security, broom boy. That horse mascot for the Mavs, cheerleaders in strip clubs.

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

    These people sound very greedy, don't they make enough money already? There are poor people out there that would love to make 1/4 what these guys make...

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

    I like watermelon!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Priya 86

    My two million dollars a year isn't enough! WAH! Get a grip, the average American probably won't make $2 million in their lifetime let alone in one year.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Overpaid

    So the players want more and more money, just cancel NBA outright. Then we will see them go make $50k a year and demand to their boss that they want more money. Do you think anyone else in this world could go up to the owner and say hey I want more then 50% of your companys profit. Lame, get rid of them all.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. me

    Crybaby billionaires arguing with crybaby millionaires, over a stupid kids' game.

    The U.S is screwed, blued, and tattooed.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. d

    that made no sense

    November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ihategreedy

    Boo hoo...poor NBA players...get a real job

    November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    How will the players survive until next year?

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

    WHO CARES? Overpaid spoiled brats! Nearly as bad as Wall Street.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jacob

    NBA owners: just hire new players.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. whatAhit

    DON'T GIVE THEM MONEY!!! DON'T BUY TICKETS, DON'T BUY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, DON'T WATCH THE GAMES ON TV.

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

      It worked for state employees in Wisconsin and Ohio. Why won't collective bargaining work for the NBA? Why, becasue the money belongs to someone, not stupid taxpayers.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • UCSB

      Exactly ... there are many other entertainment options.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Macmark

    Don't care.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mjc

    Raise your hand if you don't care about the NBA. Mine's up high!

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

      Mine, too.

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

      I got both hands up + 4 others

      November 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • dbinpitt

      Hockey!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gok

    have fun making much less in a foreign country!

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