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. ddferrari

    Greedy owners and greedy players. Both sides would rather make nothing than compromise. It's sad that the dumbest people seem to make the most money. Adios- NBA!

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

    Say good-bye to the NBA – good riddance!!!!

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

    They make so much money because people PAY to see THEM not the owners. The owners are investors and many have made BAD BAD investments. Thats not the players fault. Yall act is if the players didnt make so much money the money would be in your pocket. No I would just be in the owners pockets instead of the players!!!!!!!!!!

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

      If the players suck, they should get their pay docked. They are paid to win, not paid to play. If you don't win, and the owners lose money the put up for you, why should you still get paid millions? As for the owners, I can't say I'm losing sleep for them, they are all independantly wealthy from stocks and family money. The real people getting hurt are those who work the stadiums in concessions and other services, who will now be on the street, adding to the unemployment lines. So I don't want to hear ANYONE from the NBA complain about social welfare.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You're right, player's salaries, ticket prices, and concession prices are a function of fans willing to pay the inflated prices. But the rest of us also pay some based on local taxes and by simply paying the cable bill. TV contracts are so highly priced and some of that money comes directly from billing us to get TNT, ESPN, etc. You're right, some people choose to pay those prices but not everybody does....

      November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert2U

    Do you really think the owners would reduce prices if players were paid less? If they cancel the season they can cancel this fans support for a long time.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lisa36

    Does this make them part of the 99%? They are facing unemployment – must be the fault of the mean, greedy corporations.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JAW

    I have no sympathy for players or owners, but feel sorry for those who depend on the NBA for a living (arena workers, local businesses, etc).

    November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Guest

    Good... All those 99%ers who clean the stadiums, provide security, sell food and beverages, etc. have been mooching off the 1% and deserve to be out of work. Let them go down to OWS and complain.

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

      Too afraid to give your real name. You must be one of the greedy 1%.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chuck Norris

    gay

    November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NBA NO FUTURE & NO MONEY

    GAINT STADIUM..... OVER PRICE TICKETS...... NO WHITE PLAYERS...... HALF EMPTY SEATS..... DEMAND MORE MONEY!!!

    FAILED.....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harpman

      We need affirmative action to get more white players in sports. Too bad they can't run and jump.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LarryJr

    Time to start a new NBA, Hire all the kids that want to play the game for the fun of it. Start selling tickets for $10.00 and maybe you can get some real fans!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeremy

    Disbanding the union isn't good enough. What we need is to disband the league.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. whocares

    Who really cares about the NBA. Lock them out for 2 years, 3 years, even 4 years. They are all over paid anyway just run around on a court with a ball, most probably don't even know how to sign their name anyway.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chris

    Why is it the players fault? They have chosen to not accept a 18% pay cut, which im sure everyone in this thread would refuse, if they had the means to stay above water while the nonsense worked itself out!! Just because the owners cut the players salary, ticket prices will not bve reduced, nor will the price of concessions!! The owner want the players to shoulder all the financial burder that their own bad decisions caused, even though the $$$$ is way more than any of us could imagine, its still not appropriate for the players/ employees to shoulder the entire burden, if you boss walked in and said take a 20% pay cut so i could make more, im sure you would feel much differently

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

      Seems like the sports players are part of the 1% (hmm). And FTR (for the record) 18% of 12.9 million is peanuts compared to 18% of $30,000 a year... so they should just BE MEN ABOUT IT. They are getting about 50% too much anyway, so an 18% cut seems fair to me!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoeyE

      players are still overpaid period! they get paid of million dollars.. and you get paid of average salary in america is about 35-45k a year.. think about it.. btw for owners.. they should cut their paid too.. im glad i don't watch nor buy tickets to watch it!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikeinmiami

      Nonsese

      November 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • stan

      If your company was losing money, I'm sure you would agree to do just about anything to not only keep your job but help out as much as you could. This was along time coming...obsured guaranteed contracts to average to below average players, are you kidding me??

      November 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Iconoclast

    Hmm, Greedy overpaid players + Greedy rich owners = it's no wonder I could care less about professional sports. IT'S ONLY A GAME FOLKS!

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

      exactly!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • J in Ridgecrest

      yep, it's ONLY a game. How about a better deal for the fans– 30% to the owners, 30% to the players, and drop prices by 40% (both tickets and concessions)!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PDXSerric

    Disband the union, eh? Well, certainly that will benefit some. A few individuals. Others, the majority of players, will get hosed. The owners, however, will make a bundle when they can freely cut salaries with an open threat to fire players freely and at their discretion.

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