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. Burst Bubble

    Are we getting the whole story here? I wonder are both sides hiding something? I guess they'll raise ticket and concession stand prices?

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

    Sally, leave race out of this. Michael Jordan owns a team and he is on the side of the owners... because guess what... he's AN OWNER! Just because most of them are white, doesn't mean they're racist. It just means they own the team. They're going to do what gets them the most money, as any owner does. On PTI, they discussed how Jordan was on the side of the owners, and they agreed with it. HE IS NOW AN OWNER. Color has nothing to do with it. THe only racism I see is your blatant accusation of racism when you don't even know the owners or what they stand for. If anything, these owners have given the "black" people of the NBA a foothold out of the "ghetto" or "projects" they claim to be stuck in.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Aces Full

    Aren't Unions great?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • beebee

      no more monkeys is awesme

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

    It is really hard to feel sorry for the players... they do work hard, but the majority get paid very well. Think about all the other people who depend on the NBA for stadium and near stadium revenue. So selfish, but not unexpected.

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

    awesome no more monkeys jumpin around chasin a ball!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      We all know you wouldn't have the balls to say that to a black man face to face. You are probably a scared little boy.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ameircan Citizen

      your mother would be proud.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Playjojo

      So sad. Raised by obnoxious bigots, became an obnoxious bigot, and will raise obnoxious bigots. But at least you're not not alone. You have a lot of friends on here. Again, sadly, you'll all eventually bring the planet back down.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Greg

    You're an idiot.

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

    Go ahead and cancel the season – then we'll see how many of these NBA stars will be begging for the owners to take them back. Let them play overseas at a fraction of the money they make here. I predict 75-80% of the current NBA players will be broke by this time next year if the season is cancelled. If I demanded profit sharing from my boss, I would be fired on the spot.

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

    Look at the faces of the players. Looks like each of them just dropped their lollipop in dirt! Makes you wonder if they know what they are doing. They'll never recoup the lost revenue from a cancelled season regardless of how well they negotiate a contract. I am not sure who is greedier; the players or the owners. Think its a tie! Maybe they can spend their idle time going to church and maybe giving back to their local communities.

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

    Perfect timing with the ascension of quidditch! redirect that capitol, daddy needs a new broom!

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

    WNBA anyone?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NBA GARBAGE

    Better idea. How about ALL NBA PLAYERS working McDonalds?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marie Costner

    They don't even need a union, they are all over paid and not the least bit humble

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kJGachsPnk&w=640&h=360]

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

    Cancel the damn thing, all mighty green on both part, ESPECIALLY THE PLAYERS! Plenty of talent out there.............BRING IN NEW PLAYERS.

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

      LMFAO these are the most talented players in the world. Lesser talent is not worth watching.

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

    Who cares? College basketball is much better

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

    Blame Obama all these stupid jocks want is to spread the wealth without taking any risks if they get their way a beer will cost $20.00

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