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. NBA NO FUTURE & NO MONEY

    Why is there LACK OF SEATS IN NBA???!?!

    we spend tax dollars constructing big, bigger, BIGGER, TWICE THE SIZE, SUPER LARGE STADIUM. No one attend the game. Screw you.

    Too many overpaid NBA PLAYERS.

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

      Too many babies to pay for. Better 'tang in Croatia, too.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JamesT

    This is the beginning of the end for the NBA plantation. Plantation owners and slaves will have no place to sleep or eat in about a week. The best part is that the world will not be able to tell the difference.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dude

    The only thing I care less about than the NBA, is the WNBA.

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

      I agree, I could care less. It means we don't have to tie up channels with stupid NBA games. 50/50 split sounds pretty good to me. Let em sit a season.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. me again

    But yeah, let's go after the TEACHERS UNION, because they make WAY TOO MUCH FRIKKKIN MONEY.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. watash60

    good news.

    now the price of sporting clothes can start coming down...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NBA JAMS

    The Nba is like the game we used to play as kids called NBA Jams.....There is no def with tons of dunks. I would rather watch college

    November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    I'm betting that Rondo can write a decent paragraph without sounding like an illiterate, though.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Occasional B-Ball Fan

    Just let them all go and start the league over with new players. There's plenty of people out there that can play and are willing to do it for 40k a year. Ticket prices would be affordable and it'd probably be just as entertaining because all the players would be really grateful to be there!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. m

    Could care less, maybe they will get to the point where they are struggling to pay their bills and buy food, wouldn't that be a kick in the pants.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dbinpitt

    Yes! More coverage of hockey!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lebronisawussbag

    Josh Davis is in love with Charles Barkley!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PDQ

    Maybe the wannabes who reflexively support pro hoops (or, indeed, other pro sports) will use monies they'd have otherwise donated to these NBA One Percenters to do something (anything) more productive (e.g., get and use a gym membership, buy a decent bicycle, support a boys/girls club in their neighborhood, etc., etc., etc.).

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • cwb3

      I had no idea I could do one, but not the other. Thanks for caring and sharing.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dennis freeman

    There are many people trying to get jobs, many low paying at that. These guys (owners included) are worried about making a little more than their millions per year. Shame on them. If it wasn't for basketball a significant percentage of them would likely be in jail and/or unemployed – no skills, no brains...pathetic

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NBA NO FUTURE & NO MONEY

    WHY NBA SEATS WENT EMPTY?!?!?

    GAINT STADIUM AND EXPENSIVE TICKETS...... SCREW YOU.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John Blackadder

    Damn fools!
    The amount lost in one season is way more than any benefit from renegotiated sharing percentages, for BOTH sides. The players will take more years than their careers to recoup, and the owners will lose a ton of fans for a long time

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

      The same thing happened to the NHL.

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