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. Lee Cherry

    Who cares!!!!!!!
    The money people care

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

    Someone fire Billy Hunter, what is he doing there anyway? When was the last time he touched a basketball?

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

    I will never watch the NBA again for as long as I live.

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

    The owners pay outrageous salaries then want others to correct the abuses. The owners will continue to pay the expenses of the franchise and that's good. Unfortunately, the players will suffer the loss of salaries.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • foreman58

      I would work for $2,000,000 a year, would you?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mplaya

    hire them all back
    at minimum wage HA!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MiketheElectrician

    And yet.....the world goes on.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. quitsa

    So – when half of America is out of work we are suppose to feel sorry for these guys. Why would anyone pay one red cent to see these spoiled brats play. Cancel all the contracts. The owneres will continue to do what they do. Not sure why a player thinks he deserves more than the person who hold his contract.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. frank

    Maybe if they brought ticket prices down from the stratosphere I might care. Now I'm just glad I don't have to have my tv interrupted by overpaid thugs in their underwear.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Golden God

    Who watches the NBA anyway. A bunch of over paid street thugs whining about their millions. Have a nice vacation.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wild7718

    They stopped playing defense years ago and on offense they only care about "looking good", and now they want more money for their drugs and guns. They won't be missed.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Who cares about the NBA? LMAO. Boooooooooring, just watch college basketball.

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

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

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

    Never been a Basketball Fan, so I couldn't care less if the NBA is gone, however, Professional Athletes should, IMO, all make identical wages, no "superstars", no this guy got a 4 year $50m contract. They all get the exact same $100k/yr salary, period.

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

      So Michael Jordan should've been paid the same as Wil Purdue? Meanwhile, MJ was making the NBA millions. Yeah...okay.

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

      lol are you a commie? And let the owners make money off of the players unfairly?

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

    Mo money – mo problems – but bathketball been belly belly good ta me.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Semper fi

    College Basketball is better anyway. So Long NBA! Let's watch HOCKEY!

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