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. steelerguin

    Millionaires agruing with multi-millionaires about how to split many millions of dollars. Pathetic. Greed at its best. Most people are struggling to get by and these losers (on both sides of the table) push on for more, more, more. I hope the NBA never plays another game and kids go to college on basketball scholarships to get an education.

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

      goes 4 baseball 2 overpaid under aCHEIVERS

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

      most do get those scholarships to get an education. I'm not sure of the percentage of players that go on and turn pro but I do believe it is a small percentage.

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

    How am gonna pay for them diamond encrusted spinner caps for my Escalade now? Sheeeeeee-it!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Slick2400

    All of these people calling out the players for not taking a pay cut, because you think that by doing so its going to help the millions out of work, and the homeless. The pay cut that players said no too, was only going to help the owners get more wealthy. All this is, is rich young athletes, in a stalemate with a bunch of rich old business men.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ThemBones

    Out of the 3 major sports in the U.S. (Football, Baseball, Basketball) basketball players are by far paid the most. Don't feel sorry for NBA players and could care less if they cancel the season. I don't think the majority of the public really cares either.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeremy

    don't ruin the season, extend the contract to end of season, then re-negotiate... :)) it will be better for EVERYONE, too much pressure just causes more problems on both sides and those that support the NBA, the public :))

    November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. boycott_the_NBA

    So much greed on both sides, but I have to side with the owners on this one. The players spend their time playing the game they love and getting paid ridiculous amounts of money for it. They are not running a business... they are well-paid employees doing something many of us would love to do for a career, for fractions of what they are getting paid! The owners have a lot of costs (on top of player salaries) to worry about and a business to run. If they can't break-even financially, then there is no long-term business! I'm sure the players don't give a damn about all the tangential jobs/people (concession and restaurant owners, stadium personnel, etc.) that will be negatively effected. Eventually, most of these moronic NBA players will see that 50% of billions of dollars is much better than 100% of nothing! Idiots!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lee

    You guys don't get it. How are these players going to feed their families on an average salary of $6 million? Keep watching professional basketball and buying overpriced merchandise. C'mon, support the cause!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NBA NO FUTURE & NO MONEY

    Please explain why ALL BLACK NBA PLAYERS deserve BIGGER CHECKS THAN MICHAEL JORDAN, KOBE, LEBRON JAMES?

    Explain why?!?!? Do you play like them?!?!?

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

    THE NBA IS NOTHING WITHOUT THE PLAYERS. The players are already agreeing to reduce the revenues from 57 to 51%. People who are blaming the players here are most likely jealous and have racist tendencies while ignoring David Stern's slave plantation mentality.

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

      The NBA is nothing with out the NBA teams. The owners front the money and take all the risks.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Yeah right..

    I feel so sorry for these guys... they might actually have to get real jobs and work a real job instead of being paid millions of dollars because people use to care about basketball... boo-hoo.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. david

    who gives a crap about basketball anyways...u can go to teh zoo anyday and watch monkeys jump around.

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

      Hahah. You're so jealous. Its 2011 get over it. Face it we are taking over everything you can dream of. Even your women. LOL

      November 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dean

    Didn't watch them anyway.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nitrous

    Oh – well. I guess it's back to pimpin' in the hood...

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

      Nice racist comment, dork.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Racist

      November 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      Well, if watching the NBA normally takes you away from that, then yes, you'd best get back to it.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Guester

    I'd love a 50/50 split in revenue with my employer.

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

    Will, it doesn't matter who the fans go to watch. The owners OWN the team. You don't expect the cashier at Wal-Mart to make more than the manager because you go there to get "serviced" by them at checkout? Do you? They own the team. The players need to buy their team, and then work it that way. Oh wait, they can't, because they can't afford to. Isn't that how most businesses work? The owners and the employees? Unreal. Only in professional sports and other over-paid positions do people expect MORE of the profits.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      I know right! They make tons of cash and they are complaining?? All the while anyone who actually wants to watch a game has to shell out more then they can afford. Not that I watch basketball anyway..

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

      Not that I think the players are in the right but I would consider other entertainers a better comparison than a Wal-Mart employee. If you go to a big name musical concert what are your expectactions about revenue? Jimmy Buffet gets over 100% of the ticket sale proceits at his shows. The owner of the venue is expected to profit on concessions and other show related services. NBA players aren't as interchangable as employees in retail positions.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
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