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. Skylar100

    They wouldn't even be able to find a job for 40k. What else would these money grubbing ball players be able to do? NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets bring Soccer to the U.S. Look at Europe HUGGGGGE there

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nitrous

    Man – this is way too easy!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. qui

    Wow...most of the arguments against this article state that NBA players are uneducated and ghetto. SMH racism at its finest. If anything, those racist comments are uneducated.

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

      If I was an owner, I would talk the others into just closing shop. Pull the plug on all high paid players and start next year with lower offers to the cry baby players.

      So big deal a guy can put a ball in a basket. The people are the shop put food in shopping baskets evety day, and all their get is min wage.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NBA FULL OF BIG MOUTH

    I wish they JUST SHUT UP AND PLAY THE DAMN GAME LONG TIME AGO..... TOO MANY BIG MOUTH!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mari

    There is only ONE word to describe this GREEDY!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gelman

    dont you poeple who care about watching basketball know that you can go to the zoo any day and watch a bunch of monkeys jumpin around.

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

      @gelman.

      Racist much?

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

      Its about the same value to me.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. B

    So the players want more then half of the cash?? What is up with that? What planet do they live on anyway? In these hard times they are crying for more money?? I so hope the NBA just dies! Then maybe those players that didn't get a real education will understand what the real world is like! For those who happen to get a real education and saved their money wisely they'll become productive members of society..

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Just Steve

    So........ where are the folks who are shouting about spread the wealth ? The NBA players should be ashamed of themselves.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harpman

    Dizzy Dezzy is right. A successful venture is giving society what they want and what they are willing to pay for. And considering that the majority of society are idiots, they will continue to pay outrageous prices to see people run and jump.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. snarks

    They want money for doing something fun. They should get a cap of 150k max. The best at 150k, the worst at around 60k.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Greg

    Those poor multi-millionaires. What WILL they do?

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

    Let the players rot in hell. They're making too much money anyway. BUNCH OF STUPID OVERPAID ATHLETES

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

    Wait – how old is that younger Kardashian?? Is she legal to marry yet?

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

    Awsome!!! No b-ball!!

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

      Now if only this would happen to all other sports so they'd quit freaking interrupting my TV shows!!

      I get SO sick of my shows being preempted for sports. If I wanted to watch sports, I'd turn to ESPN for goodness sake!

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

      I personally don't care what happens to the NBA. Who I feel sorry for are the individuals that work in the arena's and other supporting professions that support sports teams. The NBA is full of millionaire cry babies that run up and down a court to put a ball in a hoop. I would much rather watch two unknown college teams play than two powerhouse NBA teams. In fact, you couldn't even give me free tickets to an NBA game. I feel bad for those people that really enjoy the NBA but I am sure they will work out a deal and be back next season.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kristal

    any professional atlete are overpaid blood suckers

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