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. Name*luigi

    STUPID ! AND STAY OUT AS LONG NBA STAYS OUT ! WHO NEEDS BASKETBALL YO-YOS.

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

    I am not sure why the players are asking for a cut of the revenue – do they not already make millions! I certainly cannot go to my CEO and tell him I want 50% of the action! Do they expect me to feel sorry for them when everyone else in the country is struggling to pay their mortgage or even find a job? I agree that I could care less if they play another game ever again!! In the end both sides are losers!

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

      The players are the ones bringing in the revenue idiot. They deserve to get a bigger cut. Just like in college sports the NCAA pockets all of the monies while the student athletes starve.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • yup123

      I agree. The players act like this is unfair, but as intelligent business men, the owners have realized that their current model is causing them to lose money. If you are losing money, you restructure so you stop losing money. The players are ridiculous if they think that the owners should continue to operate in the red so that they can continue to get millions. Meanwhile, all of the people who live paycheck to paycheck are out in the cold. But we should be sad for the players because they are going to get less money (sarcasm). Everyone else is losing money, the players are mad because the millions they make aren't enough. Ridiculous.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheetahe

      It is just millionaires against millionaires and now the anti-trust attorney millionaires are getting to get their millions. What fouls are the fans for supporting such a scam.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • yup123

      I meant I agree with bigdoghope, not the Chrisjill who aparently does not understand how business works. The players may be bringing in the revenue, but evidently they aren't bringing in enough because most teams are losing money. If they are paying me a certain amount of $ to do my job, and I am bringing in less than that, then I need to make less. It's that simple. As good as I am at my job, if I am not bringing in enough to keep the company above water, it does not make sense to pay me more.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. toa

    Greedy players and owners. Don't play basketball ever.

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

    great point on the little buy, e.g. the ushers, people at aprking garages, sales staff at vendors stores, etc. they are the ones who feel the pain the most.
    Players shelflife is short and the odds of making it is very slim but even the ones that make the minimum starts at 473,000 for 1st year player, jumps to 762000 year 2, then 854,000 for 3rd year player.
    Many Retirees are looking at that sum as thier total nest egg.
    In this economy these guys are complaining... they need a reality check.

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

    overpaid skill-less uneducated

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

      Brack: Are you really that stupid? Let's see you play at the level that they do. They all have college educations on top of that. Do you?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NudeTruth

    bunch of greedy morons, they should be thankful someone actually pays them to throw a little ball through a hoop.

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

    The dope head ball dribblers need more money for crack and pink Ferraris.

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

      your mother needs more money for crack

      November 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MsMHS

    Who cares about these degenerate, for the most part, uneducated, tattooed fools who should not be earning half the salary they do simply because God gave them height and the ability to dunk a ball into a hoop. Good riddance to the NBA - if you ask me. I hope they go a year without a penny's salary.

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

      still better than NHL

      November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Nika Ye

      wow you are so intelligent girl

      November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BadBoyee

    This is an epic fail by the players. The legal process could drag out long enough that some players will never play again. The real people that are hurt because of this are the venue staffs that support the basket ball games. Those people actually need their normal paying jobs to buy things like food and pay bills. The owners are certainly not blameless in all of this, but where in the world does anyone tell their boss how much they have to pay them?

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

    What needs to happenfirst of all is for the league to get rid of David Stern. That little crumb of a man who could'nt bounce a basketball has been around too long and has been the cause of many of the problems. Get someone as commissioner who actually knows about or, better yet, played the sport professionally.

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

    Still can't pay me to watch NHL

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

      NHL rocks, nba is full of puzzies.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NBA GARBAGE

    Giant stadium..... Super large ticket seats...... MORE GIGANTIC STADIUM..... Construction unions would get MAD.... MAD...

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

    Another union costing thousands of jobs.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Boycott Pro Sports

    Go watch a local team. Go watch a game at your local high school. Start supporting your local communities, and stop supporting these hoodlums and corporate big wigs.

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

    I do not now, nor have I ever, followed "professional" basketball. If they don't want to work for their employers, then let them go find other jobs like everyone else. Tough to feel sympathy for that bunch.

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