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. Fred

    Good on the players for standing their ground.
    In this battle, the players are the 99% and the owners are the 1%. The rich owners are trying to strong arm the players into taking a deal that will ensure most of the money remains in their pockets and not in the hands of the players who do all the work.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ticoudog

      Without owners there is no place players.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • JerseyBill

      Players are the 99%?! Please.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      Like OWS most players can barely read.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • shut_up

      OWS SAYS MILLIONAIRES ARE THE TOP 1% THEN NOW YOU SAY THE BASKETBALL PLAYERS THAT ARE MILLIONAIRES ARE IN THE 99%. WHAT OTHER COURSE DID YOU FLUNK BESIDES BASIC MATH?????????????????????????

      November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshall Tucker

      I cant wait to hear how many players go bankrupt and then commit suicide.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy in Utah

      Just to be clear here. You're saying the owners should willingly lose money so the players can have bigger salaries? Where are those salaries supposed to come from if the business is losing money?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ac/dc

      So, Let me get this straight... I invest $300M, "guarantee" the salaries of a bunch of players. If I turn a profit, they want half. If I loose they still want half of what I did not make. Heads, players win! Tails, owners lose! Would you take this deal if you owned the team?
      Does this make sense to anyone? How about any overpaid player gives up a percentage of his salary when the team loses money?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • dbuzz

      Nice post. You are a genius.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • phil s

      Fred. You just dont get it!!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wilbur S. Peabody

    NOBODY CARES.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michelle

    Seriously? With the financial abyss this country has fallen into, you believe that we care if you make another few million? Really? How about playing for the love of the game! It's the American public who are paying your salary!!!! With tickets and sponsorships, don't you realize you're taking money from those who can no longer afford it? Get over yourselves!

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JerseyBill

    Who cares about the NBA? Bag the season and see who cares.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rob-N-austin

    we are all missing the important issue. DALLAS MAVERICKS CHAMPIONS FOREVER!

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wet

    Lay off the drugs dude.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • lancelot

      these spoiled illiterate children should be happy to be paid so much just to play a ball game. greedy muthas

      November 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michelle Sample

    Worst Game you sound like an uneducated idiot with a dictionary. Please go sit in the corner and finish eating your crayons

    November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kent Bowen

    NBA - and all major professional sports - need to cut salaries by 75% and ticket prices accordingly. Players are grossly overpaid for what they contribute to society. Too bad this won't be the impetus for such change. Owners and players will run the league into the ground before they cut salaries and ticket prices.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • supply and Demand

      Do you understand the basics of how our economy works.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. shannon g

    The players are really ignorant. The owners have conceded more than they wanted, but the greed of the players has killed all resolutions.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      The players gave back $280 million and the owner's are still not happy. If I am willing to take a job for 50k but the hiring manager likes my skill set and offers me 100K, who's the idiot? It's the same in all sports. Owner's want the best and are willing to overspend no matter what. Now they want their money back because of their bad decisions.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. boyd10

    Black playersThey owe you so much for bringing them over on a slaver?Get real

    November 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • LASOUL

      You are stupid.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • GeeGee

      you are just mad because you aren't black!!!!! HA HA HA!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ken

    Do these players think anybody actually cares? Strange the lives of celebrity athletes.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Egg

    Since I live in L.A. and have not been able to afford to go to a Laker game in years anyway, I'm not going to miss the NBA , in the same way I don't miss the NFL . I can still do what I've been doing for the last few years...go to college games.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Yep, go to college games, where the players really ARE financial slaves, making their rulers piles of money while they get nothing.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • dbuzz

      You're right, Matt. That free college education is nothing. Good call.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      The arts degree the majority of college players get is actually worth nothing.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. saharaman

    I'm done with the NBA. Lackluster player performance, greedy owners and expensive games. Would much rather watch or attend NCAA games.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David M

    No NBA? That's great. Just frees up more channels for college hoops, which is way better. Somehow I don't think the quality of my life will suffer if the NBA is not around. Rich and spoiled boys squabbling over money. Disgusting.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • robbie

      def agree to those posts who cares college hoops are way better. they are playing cause the love the game not because of a pay check. as far as i am concerned the players shouldnt even get that much money. they are employees not employers. just fire them all and get guys in there that will play for 50 or 60000. if you do hit me up. i will sit the bench for 45000 a year 🙂

      November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIke J.

      I totally agree. I won't miss the NBA for a single second and will look forward to enjoying a full season of college hoops. I'm so sick of all pro sports players and owners haggling over the millions of dollars that we, the fans, are the ones paying for them to perform. I hope that when next season starts that interesting has dwindled enough to really hurt their bottom line.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba from the South

      I totally agree, with the way the economy is right now and thousands of hard working Americans are pinching pennies to get by on. Bunch of spoiled rich brats,squabbling over what making more and more millions. So sad.......

      November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      I agree. I hate basketball so this doesn't hurt me in the least. Now, I do LOVE baseball and football but I think they make WAY to much and would support a lockout of them as well to bring down player salaries. It costs a family of four an average of around $300 to attend ONE baseball game! That's crazy. The players AND owners need to come up with a plan that is not only beneficial to each other but also to the fan who has to buy tickets to games on the frickin lay-a-way plan! Knock ticket prices WAY down to where I can afford to go to more than one game a year and I don't care HOW much the players make! They are pricing the fan right out of the picture right now!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annoyed

      Second!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JOE

    @ AJay

    I totally agree with you! Unfortunately greed and selfishness have gotten the better part of our society and now we are unraveling by the threads. What the NBA should do is to send out scouts at the Occupy Wall Street across America and start recruit players from the streets to form a new league. Teach these overrated overpaid flamboyent and arrogant NBA players a lesson.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
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