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. HappyHoosier

    Oh well, college basketball is lots more fun to watch anyway.

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

      I do agree; at this juncture I find College Basketball, even High School Basketball more entertaining. At least the ego levels are a lot lower. There are also a lot of other sports of particular interest to fill the void, so i'm not missing it at all. And yes, there's even...wait for it...FAMILY...which for some i'm sure have been waiting on the sidelines for some. That's a game where everyone wins. 🙂

      November 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bigdogg

    Last i checked i dont need the NBA, NFL, or MLB to survive. The only sad result is the loss of jobs, those being vendors, consession workers,etc; that depend on those related jobs, Teachers, Doctors, Janitors, essential people,give them a raise, Hell with the NBA !

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

      Yea, so the 9% unemployment rate just went up as a result.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marc

    College hoops are already in season!!! Who cares about the NBA?!? Eighty-Two games are too many anyway, I don't even start watching until after March Madness!!!

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

    Personally, I hope that there is no season. If these players think they are so special, then let them start their own league.

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

    this is 100% on owners. First, trying to sell the BS that most of the teams lost money, and continually pushing the union to give up hundreds of millions of dollar while making it MORE difficult for players to move around the league. I cheer the players on -. Management always thinks it can bully its workers. Well, they can't this time. The players are the value. The owners are largely ego-driven maniacs who are now going to get what they deserve - nothing!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NBA FULL OF BIG MOUTH

    NBA PLAYERS.... WHY IS MICHAEL JORDAN EARN MORE MONEY? WHY CAN'T I?

    SHUT UP!!! SHUT UP!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Beeyah

    They should have accepted it. Go play soccer

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Will

    BTW if you want to watch real basketball watch college basketball. As for pro basketball neither of them (owners and players) are worth it.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Timetraveler

    Greedy ba$tards. They should be banned from playing basketball for good. They've had it too good for too long.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cwb3

    This sucks, the money lost by tanking a whole season more than trumps the differences between the revenue sharing disparity. The owner's can recoup some of thier lost $ by renting the areans for concerts and events. The players lost a year of salary they will NEVER get back. And the deal will be worse for them next year.

    And the fans lose a whole season of rooting against the Heat LOL.

    But yeah I'll say it. . .I'll miss the NBA this year. Love the sport, love watching it played at the highest levels. Love that men can actually get rich playing it! And no, college basketball is NOT a better game.

    Pro-basketball is so much faster, more athletic, more complex, more precise, and more efficient than college basketball its not even comparable. Played at even an 85% level of intensity, say game 48 of an 82 game season, on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, the skill level and athletic level far exceeds the college game. Transitioning from the NCAA to even the European professional leagues, requires a player know about spacing, movement, and have razor sharp reaction-times, in a way that is not seen with college ball. That's why most college players end thier basketball years. . .in college. Yeah sure, college hoops got all the fans bouncing up and down and the college players flailing about the court like thier lives depend on it. Looks nice on the surface, but the NBA shreds that.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • His Boy Elroy

      And don't forget about all the people who have no work because there is no season creating their jobs.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John S

    Thanks CNN, I almost forgot there was a NBA. People will start to feel the same way they did during the MLB strike!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NBA GARBAGE

    TOO MANY TRASH TALKS!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. His Boy Elroy

    I am done with this mess. See you next season, Players.

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

    In the struggle of millionaires against billionaires, I will have to go with.....watching one of the other 200 channels. Sorry, I just don't care. I don't feel any loss here at all.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nitrous

    Wait – what are those two white guys doin' in that posse?

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

      What's it like being a racist? Does it make you feel manly?

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

      u need the whites to be the brains...sort of like quarterbacks in football....we see what happens when they put a colored in the qb position...

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

      Did your mommy log you in to the computer so you could write that?

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