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. Kip Massey

    The NBA and the NFL both need a heavy boycott from the fans. These players, owners, and networks are have become far too greedy and us fans continue to support them and there riches. It would sure send a strong message if not one ticket was sold for an entire week of games for both.

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

      The NFL isn't that bad! You only have to take out a $20,000 loan out to take a family of 5 to a game on Sunday. The money for their pay checks has to come frome someone.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Common Sense

    The owners & players are all overpaid. The average middle class family is not able to afford to attend the games anyway so I say good riddance!!!!!! Bring on college basketball, SOA & deadliest catch. lol

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

    Exactly how does a person's colored skin change how his brain functions? Are you a good representation of your race?

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

    Sorry, but I can't feel sorry for any of the professional players whether it be the NBA, NFL, or Baseball. They should thank their lucky stars they have "jobs" earning millions while a large percentage of Amercians are out of work. What the NBA players did was to shoot themselves in the foot!

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

      The only thing worse that the players taking their huge salaries from granted is the weatlhy owners – who have no particular talent worth any entertainment value – taking their huge salaries from granted.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • KnicksFan

      So just because many of them are millionaires, they should allow the billionaire owners to take advantage of them? The players have already agreed to drop their share from 57%. There have been numerous studies that show the owners are clearly lying about profits. Why take the side of 30 billionaires who are too inept to hand out responsible contracts?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DMJ

    The players and owners need to get real....there are actually people that would love to have a job that pays $30,000 and will work a life time without making what they do in one season. I don't feel sorry for either side!

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

    I'm a huge basketball fan and I think these players are crazy and greedy. We want to see ball !
    They expect to make enough money in a 10-15 year career to live a luxury lifestyle their entire life, thats crazy ! The owners have the burden of investing, building and running and organization and today most NBA teams are not profitable. In my view the split should be 60% owners and 40% players. This has nothing to do with racism, all business !

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

      Numerous studies have been done that show that NBA teams are all profitable and are hiding their money. No one pays to see the owners. No one pays to see an arena (even MSG). The players are the product. They should earn [slightly] more of the money. What's more is that the players have already AGREED to lower their percentage from 57%. Not good enough for the billionaire owners.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Manny

    The fans really hold the key to the NBA player's paychecks. If we are tired of these NBA players being so greedy and making millions of dollars and have no love for the game, then it is time that the fans boycott the NBA and not go to the games or purchase their merchandise. If we united like the NBA players do then the fans would have the upper hand on all of this. Instead the fans just go along and complain but do nothing about it.

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

      I agree with you 100!!! BOYCOTT THE NBA (when they finally get their act together) for a solid year!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mytabloids

    Making millions while the guy hawking programs and selling nachos and parking cars loses his job at the arena. And believe this; avarice is color blind....

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

    Get rid of ALL pro sports....we don't need 'em!

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

      Then what would the Kardashians do?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      Supply and demand.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff_S

      What a stupid reaction.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DK

    Does anyone really care about an NBA strike? I like NCAA hoops 20x's better than these primadonnas! According to Latrell Sprewell, they can't afford to put food on the table at a league minimum salary of $762,000 for a player with one-year of experience. That puts them in the Top 1% of wage earners in the United States! They might be more greedy than anyone on Wall Street.

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

      Agreed. NCAA ball is way better to watch and to go to! With that said, every union has the right to negotiate fairly for a contract. Just because they make more than you do doesn't mean they should settle for whatever they are given. That is the problem with America right now. Someone makes 10.50 an hour and everyone tells them you should just be thankful you have a job. Well yeah, but 15.00 is even better than 10.50; so fight for it! nothing wrong with that in a country that says we are based off of capitalism.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gman999

    Then there's all those 'little' people whose jobs depend on the NBA season. Everyone who works at the arenas, those who make and market NBA merchandise, the businesses around the arenas that count on the crowds. both the owners and players are a bungh of greedy infants. How about an "Occupy NBA" movement?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. descarado

    Grown men being paid millions to play a children's game. Hilarious! Almost as hilarious as the utterly useless men watching this moron game on the boob tube. No wonder America is going over the cliff and into history's dumpster.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Descarado's mad

      Way to add absolutely nothing to the conversation, while simultaneously bashing the male gender on baseless opinions.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Guest

    so are you an uneducated idiot? Because you just played it.

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

    i think sports players should make 500-1000 dollars a week depending on their production..these mulimillion contracts are rediculous ..no way does any1 deserve that money for playing a game....i hope they all go broke...nba nfl mlb..all of em...

    November 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sussay

    Good! Good riddance to the NBA, thug-players and cheating refs. The consensus from the comments I've read is that no one cares about the demise of the NBA. prhmph!

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