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 Dependent

    Once again, where's the compassion for the people who need the low and minimum wage jobs that are not working without the NBA playing. What about the municipalities that have funded the arenas and no revenue coming in. Business that rely on these whining babies. Both sides are part of the 1percent and no one is crying for them. Wish I could say go away, but the little folks need the money from the jobs.

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

    Tell you what, I'll play 6 months of basketball for a mere $250k annually. Who needs millions to play a schoolyard game.

    All joking aside, the game has largely been influenced by street thugs; there is no sportsmanship in it anymore. Want to truly solve the problem with basketball? Return the uniform standards to those of 25-30 years ago....you'll find that the sport will clean itself out and become respectable again in short order.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. loki301

    My sentiments exactly!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bookworm

    All this time i thought NBA meant National Basketball Assod didn't realize it meant No Basketball At-all ....

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

    It amazes me that people even care about these "athletes". They're just money hungry greedy individuals (players and owners). Their egos out-size their skills. Watch college basketball if you want to watch real basketball.

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

    Watch me not care about rich people squabbling over paychecks....

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

    Lebron's greediness has spread throughout the NBA. This is the result! Hahahahahaha no championship for Lebron this season! hahahahaha

    November 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sonic10158

    well, time to delete the NBA programming off my Direct TV...

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

      You had that scheduled? You disgust me.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Justin

    I don't care about the NBA. Professional basketball is rigged by the officials. There's first hand testimony to show for that. On top of that, any sport where a guy has to try to belly flop onto the field of play to draw a foul is bogus. Where's the skill?

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

    make sandusky the new league president.
    He'd make the players "toe the line"

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

    Wow...everyone's argument towards this article is that the NBA players are ghetto and uneducated. Talk about racism at its finest. SMH now these comments about this article are uneducated.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Because lack of education and poor areas of cities (ie: ghettos) are entirely racial topics. Seems like you're the racist here MORON!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NBA NO FUTURE & NO MONEY

    WHY NBA SEATS WENT EMPTY?!?!?

    NO WHITE MICHAEL JORDAN. NO WHITE PLAYERS. SCREW YOU.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mr gib

    i guess ... but the nba is part of the economy ... irresponsible to wish it gone or all professional sports per that matter

    November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harpman

      Professional sports,just like movies and music, are entertainment. It's a matter of priorities. Which benefits society the most, entertainment or scientist, engineers, teachers, doctors, etc. It's amazing that between the med student and the star football player at a college, the football player may make many times more money. I had to see the emphasis in college on their athletic programs verses the academics. The coaching staffs make millions while the professors probably make less than 6 figures.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bilbo baggins

    overpaid fools all of them. Disband all professional sports. Give the money to scientists and teachers instead!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harpman

      Amen. However, this type of thinking is too rational for our society (even for humanity).

      November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • clwyd

      While I agree that the players are overpaid I also know that the greed of the owners is equal to there's. The owners want more and they are influenced by the politics of the day. Take away collective bargaining or just ignore it!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dizzy Dezzy

      If you can get advertisers and TV to pay broadcasting fees for the priviledge to advertise/broadcast teachers and scientist shows...or get people to pay thousands to watch a teacher/scientist, then you have a point.

      But last I check, society doesn't find watching teachers/scientist as exciting as watching sports.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • taargus

      Yep, disbanding massive organizations that collectively employ - directly and indirectly - tens of thousands of people is exactly what this country needs!

      You realize that professional sports aren't subsidized, don't you? That all the money they're paying to players is generated by the leagues themselves? That, if the league ceases to exist, there is no money to "give to scientists and teachers"?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Harpman

    GREED, GREED, GREED. Its amazing these grown men get paid so much for playing a kids game.

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