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. Jeremy

    THose players make enough dog-gone money. They are just being greedy. It's not enough that the rest of america is struggling just to make ends meet. While these players are struggling just to buy more bling.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. buhbye

    Hmm well check this out NBA...We reject you by not caring and not buying tickets. Maybe it is time for those overpaid athletes to go out and work in a real job, earn what the "commoners" earn, and maybe that salary they are being offered by the NBA will suddenly look more appealing.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MHM

    Wait – is it basketball season? I had a feeling I wasn't missing something and I'm still not missing anything.

    Bag pro ball. Keep college. I don't think I've ever watched a pro game and as I recall, I'm not missing anything!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • legman

      I'M EVEN SMARTER – I DON'T WATCH ANY OF IT AND I'M 6 FEET 7 INCHES TALL!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. socalpimp

    Here that sound? The sound of nobody but inner city kids who give a crap.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • policedad

      Hear that sound? It's the sound of a racist dimwit that can't even spell the word "hear" correctly.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annoyed

      Actually plenty of southern, white adults like me actually enjoy the NBA, but I think the inner city kids join me in not caring because this is bull . ...what is your problem?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • homersimpsondoh123@yahoo.com

      Funny...why so mean. Inner city this and inner city that? I don't like basketball and think they don't deserve the pay that they get, but don't be so hostile. They have a right to fight for a raise just like you. Now, the difference is, they are being stupid. They seem to forget they are replaceable and that they are blessed to be in their position.

      Please stop saying inner city kids, it just locks folks in on one dimension. Point is they are morons. They deserve to be broke. but I do hope they got a four year degree and saved up their money. (Unfortunately, they probably did not do neither).

      November 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. legman

    Best news I've heard all week! No I won't have to see that crap all over out TV set when we want to watch something constructive, or entertaining!!!!

    Isn't amazing that those morrons aren't happy with getting 10 million a year and more to play a stupid game?

    STAY ON FRIKKN STRIKE – WHO CARES?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. volkan 2

    The little guys will get hurt most of all. These are your custodials and concessions workers. Think any of these overpaid, uneducated morons really care?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • boyd10

      Uneducated?You keep it away for the most part.I guess we didn't land on the Mayflower.Enjoy while you can

      November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skegeeace

      Exactly. I wonder if these "ballers" are going to help pay for those poor guys' bills now that they're out of work.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cindy

    Of course they did. Personally I don't care whether there is an NBA or not. College hoops are much much more interesting anyway. The NBA players are nothing more than rich, arrogant whiners who want their way and won't give in until they get it. What they really need is to grow up! I don't feel sorry for the owners either, they created these monsters.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. beau jaxson

    I say we all lock out the NBA when it does come back.

    Boycott the NBA.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      I'm with you on that! Boycott the NBA!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andy

    Typical union bloody-mindedness. It's not like the "players" (sic) are exactly poor, is it?

    Bunch of losers. Sack the lot, and give their 'jobs' (sic) to those who are willing to put the time, enery and effort in. Lock up the union organisers.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. blake

    Occupy the nba. Have all these jobless street punks don uniforms and shoot some hoops. It'll be a more exciting game that way anyway. Quit whining and play ball guys. People respect you cuz you play ball, earn it. Act like americans and hoop for the love.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. open400

    The action of the NBA gives all union a black eye.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Unios already have one – bulies, the lot of them. They're an anachronistic hangover from the C19th.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sully

    Fight the power....i support unions everywhere.....no one ever paid to see an owner play basketball...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      You one of them (snicker) "Teamseters" (suppress laughter @ silly name and strangely-absent 'leader') ... lol

      November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bob

    Bunch of grown men being paid millions to play a childrens game. Shut the whole thing down and let them serve fries for a living.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Qupa1210

    So ... the owners put up all the capital for players salaries, management salaries, costs of stadiums, and the players feel they deserve MORE than 50% of revenues to play a game? What gives? The players should have taken their 50% and been happy. The players incur none of the liability that comes with running a team, yet they want more than an equal share of the income pie? Go to Europe. Good riddance.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Waaah! Waaah! I only make millions a year to play basketball! Waaaahhhhh!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • balls

      so put in the perspective of corporate America, if you grow a business from a million dollar business to a billion dollar business and it is because of YOU and your direct contribution, shouldn't you be rewarded with a larger chunk of the pie? you are forgetting that.

      i also think the players should start over and build their own league where players own the teams with at least 51% owning power so they can make their own decisions, draft as they wish, and have some real stake in everything. that's how my rec league works and we get a long great.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LAkers NOT

    Greed from both sides. I am an NBA fan but now, NOT. I can't believe these players who are getting million dollar contracts who cannot even sacrifice a pay cut when most of the nation do not have jobs!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • yuh

      well now they will have to work like the rest of america

      November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • THE 1%

      exactly, get a 9-5 & see how it is to work everyday for a measly check! i say the fire em all n re-hire new ppl, i would be more then happy to play basketball 4 ONLY 50%!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoJob??

      "Most of America..." That is not true. Most of America has a job. 1 in 10 does not.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
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