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. Mojo

    It's a business. How many employees make fifty percent of the revenue of the company that they work for? There is plenty of talent out there begging for a chance to play for a lot less.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Alot- not an individual employee, but collectively, the cost of employees salaries and benefits could easily be 50% of an non-good producing company expenses

      November 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sassan

    Remember, players already agreed to reduce revenues from 57 to 51%. The owners are just being greedy,

    November 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. London G. Welsh

    Fire them all. Plain and simple.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dickie

    unions are stupid. they haven't served a purpose since the industrial revolution. The players should not get revenue sharing. Players are employees(overpaid) and owners are owners, they should get as much of the profit(if any) as they can. If you don't like your job go find another one.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norbert

      Amen and AMEN!

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

      The problem is that players are not ordinary employees. They are people with unique talents that cannot be easily replaced. If they could, they already would have been. The revenues are based on the stars. People don't go to watch the owners, they go to watch the players. Their talent are the products – the owners have nothing else to sell.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mndan

    Seriously.. When was the nba season suppose to start anyway? Boy I must really be out of touch. This is the first time I heard of a lockout...No sh@#... shows you how much I really care about these spoiled brats making millions and complaining about it. Get in the unemployment line kids..... I bet you 90% of the people in the US feel the same way.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brownstain

    Monkeyball

    November 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    For the record, I couldn't care less whether the NBA season is cancelled or not. However, the players have to be either severely mislead or obtuse if they allow the seaon to be cancelled. If the players are able to negotiate an additional 3% of the revenue (from 50% to 53%), then as a collecitve group, they will get 6% more of the revenue. If they receive no revenue this year due to the lockout, then it will take over 16 years to recoup their lost revenue. Bad deal for the players. Good deal for the fans as it is a great stimulus package in a poor economy.

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

    Is anyone else looking at that picture and wondering what the average height is in that room? I'm guessing 6'6 at least...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JoeyE

    really sad to see those players being GREEDY so do owners.. I'm glad I don't support any pro sports.. they whine for MONEY!!! I only watch college sports because of spirits! and for other people talked about racism.. well how many percents of black play in pro basketball while how many percents of black in America? you see in America, only 9% americans are black yet its over 80% of black players in that game.. prove me wrong.. I'm no racism but just observe it.. ( it is my right of speech to speak out) Now, how many are very educated players? very slim.. it shows that those players are very uneducated and doesn't CARE nor serve for our country.. to my opinion, it proves Americans are dumber and dumber.. come on, don't EVER buy any pro sport tickets at all.. it is worthless IMHO!

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

      These basketball players get paid for playing basketball not their degrees.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CDaeda

    I am going to get a walk on or strike breaker job working as an NBA player to bounce out Kobie and other players. My slam dunk is pretty good plus I work for less pay.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. excitingman

    ha who cares, the 1% are bickering over millions

    November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. appcomplain

    GREED! will imprison us all

    November 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Progressive Veteran

    Fire every last player and start from scratch. These players have got to be the most greedy on earth and the owners are probably not far behind. College and High School basketball will keep fans entertained.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • vtguy

      Yup, agree 100%, no average American will be able to take his kids to a game anymore. Players are evil. Fire them all.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. garyh

    go play over sea's for 3 million a year, See ya KOBY, LeBron, Wade. See what live is like over there take Fisher sell out Price with you as well , He forgets how the owners set him free from his contract to be with his ailing wife but hey why not BITE the FKNNN hand that feeds you. Get European players and college players to replace them . NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH HEY HEY HEY GOOD BYE

    November 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tabitha

    It's greed all the way around. People losing their jobs left and right. People losing their homes and are forced to sleep in the streets. People struggling to put food on the table, and this arrogant jerks can't come to a compromise??? Makes me sick to my stomach!!!!!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67