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 DON'T BLACKS OWN NBA AND SEE IF THE KNOW HOW TO MANAGE OVER PRICE PLAYERS?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nytw

    This is good new. One step closer to disbanding the league. Hopefully the NBA will soon cease to exist.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. vtguy

    It is like you work ofr a business. They determine how much you make. Take it or leave it. That is how most Americans find themselves in. These players make millions of dollars a year, and they want more? Oh well.... looks like when they settle, no average American will be able to afford to take their kids to a game.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sassan

    Support the players!!! David Stern thinks he owns a slave plantation. He should have been fired long ago for his racist ways.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. J

    Where do I sign up to join? I suck at basketball but I'm willing to do it for 150k (1/33rd as much as the current $5M benchwarmer salary). It would still be a big raise for me and I'd suggest cutting ticket prices to match my talent. LOL

    November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sarah Stroud

    I say good riddance. Those jerks are more well-to-do than most people ever will hope to be, and yet they still want more, more, more. This is what a union is: A leach. Pull a Ronald Reagan and fire them all! Ditch the union, reorganize, redesign your structure, and start hiring new ball players.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. losingatmonopoly

    Stern sounds desperate with all the "nuclear winter" hyperbole, and it's hilarious that he calls the players legal action "irresponsible" when the owners already filed their own legal action months ago.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NBA NO FUTURE & NO MONEY

    NBA = BET (BLACK ENTERTAINMENT SPORTS)

    November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. R Dodd

    Greed begits greed hope they held on to their last pay check or some may be homelless, when half of the coungtry is unemployed or underemployed, get a life

    November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ryan

    There is more to risk than just money. I can't believe people actually feel like the owners are risking anything. The players are the ones putting themselves at risk. One bad move and their career is over. Boo-hoo for the billionaires "risking" millions of dollars on a cash cow. What a joke!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nytw

    This is excellent news. One step closer to disbanding the league. Hopefully the NBA will soon cease to exist.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lduke

    The NBA players, make more money than my husband who has a Master's Degree, and teaches university level programming, makes all year. Greed comes to mind here. They just want more money. Are they getting their educations??? Are they doing anything for themselves for the future, instead of partying all the time, showing off the glitz and glamour, fancy cars, fine dining, etc? I don't see it. No more money.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sassan

      Who cares? We live in a capitalist system. It is the players who produce the revenue and sell the tickets.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NBA NO FUTURE & NO MONEY

    It's really really expensive..... Where to get large amount of money?!?!?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wunderland

      Glad to hold the door open and get the lights as the NBA walks out the door....ditto good riddance.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • gman

      Owners/Players are equally responsible. Both sides are greedy, immoral and have never cared about the fans. The Owners are the 1% while the players are elitists who think they are above the law. They make too much money, when the real heroes of our country, the teachers, firefighters, police, and the military have to struggle to get by. Maybe they can all play basketball in Mexico!

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

    To all the ignorants: the players are already agreeing to reduce revenues from 57 to 51%. This is the greed from David Stern and the Uncle Tom Michael Jordan.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      A six percent pay cut is standard each year for any employee.

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

      OWWW, my brother. That hurts

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

      This a clear case in point on how David Stern is so incompetent that he has not seen this coming. Another CEO paid in millions yet unable to follow thru. Stern needs to go and get replaced asap by another officer who can negotiate in good faith. Stern is a liability to the NBA plain and simple.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Let the players start a business of their own and then find out what it's like to deal with employees who have big egos and think they are the center of the world.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Greed? They own the teams. If players don't like it, they can go play in other leagues, or buy teams to play on. Nothing is stopping them. But they sure as heck won't make anywhere close to that much money anywhere else. The ones being greedy fools are the players.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Please, the average player makes $5,000,000 per year! Calling people Uncle Tom is just ignorant on a monumental scale.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sassan

      Now that Michael Jordan is an owner he has forget that he was a player. That is why I call him an Uncle Tom.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samir Vasquez

      Using the term "Uncle Tom" is ignorant

      November 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ray

    So i guess these guys going back to robbing and dealing. lol

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