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. Basketball is irrelevant

    No NBA this year you say? And the world yawned.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jack

    I had no idea there was a strike.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NBA GARBAGE

    OVER PAID PLAYERS DEMAND MORE MONEY SUPPLY. BULL DOZED AND BANKRUPT NBA......

    CHAPTER !1
    CHAPTER 11
    CHAPTER 11
    CHAPTER 11

    NO WHITE PLAYERS IN NBA.....

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

      GFY

      November 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • djwazu

      Just white owners except for MJ!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Will

    Umm, and without owners we still have sports leagues !! Someone say Green Bay Packers. They're publicly owned. They don't have an owner. Almost anyone can invest in shares (ownership) and last time I looked they'd won a few championships. No one really needs owners. We also don't need players salaries in the stratosphere either.

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

      What is wrong with people making as money as possible?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jorge washinsen

    I suggest they go to work for CNN as censors.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Greg

    The racism on this site is indicative of why most people in the world hate the USA. You're like a bunch of little children.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisa

      you are a child still trying to live back in the day. The race card has run out. Non of these guys wuold be where they are if they had to be paid by their own color.

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

      Perfectly said.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • planet

      long live nappy headed monkey people!!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Thanks for making my point, losers. Your inbred mothers must be so proud of you.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Playjojo

      Seriously! We get the point planet, you're a raging bigot!! Jeez, give it a rest, WE'RE not stupid. So many on here, wow!

      November 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JMysh

    ARROGANCE & GREED. The "Occupy" 99% group should protest this and let the players and owners know that only their 1% cares who wins this battle over power, because the 99% has no sympathy for either. If the players think the owners are so bad, let the players start their own league and disban the NBA.

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

    the picture above looks like a conference from Planet of the Apes. LEt's send them to that planet to play their monkey game.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jack

    Hire scabs all them 7 foot guys look the same anyway, no one will even notice.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • planet

      lets just get monkeys form the zoo to replace them.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lisa

    Do we care if these guys get paid millions of dollars to play games like little kids? Stop paying and watch them on TV for a couple of days.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      What is wrong with players making as much money as they can? If you do not want to buy a ticket no one is forcing you.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan Bee

    You know.... I think I will go on strike – As a fan!!!!! No more funds for NBA, Players, Non-ya........

    November 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • planet

      i like that idea but there are too many colored folks too make that happen

      November 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dbuzz

    Will never watch another game....ever. Done.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert (Atlanta)

    Before they rejected a perfectly fair "50-50" deal, I was actually sympathizing with the players. Sadly, under the non-leadership of Billy Hunter, we now see how greedy they are – no worse than the owners, of course, but no better either. The only option now is whether or not the average fan is willing to swallow anymore of this BS? My guess is that some will walk away but others are too deeply invested in "their" team or "their" player to see the corruption and greed that have officially destroyed what used to be a good show.

    R.I.P. NBA

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

    Ah man!! Yeah yeah!! OK!! Gangsta! I need my millions to pay for my dope man and my 13 kids with 4 different women... don't forget the sports car!. How am i suppose to get the ladies driving around in a Honda? Com'on man!

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

    monkeys?
    That tells more about you.

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