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. jack

    We all agree on something! The NBA sucks.

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

      big time

      November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Doctor Doom

    Soon to be heard by NBA players around the country – "Do you want fries with that"

    November 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dr. Nika Ye

    This will prove to be a good thing for the NBA

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

    This is great news. These guys are all overpaid anyway and are any of them smart enough to see what is going on in the economy?! The owners take all the risk – risk that fans will turn out for game, risk fans even will have money to buy a ticket, and risk that these overpaid players will produce what they are being paid to do. Most professional athletes are grossly overpaid – lets face it, they are not neurosurgeons. I do agree with the person who feels badly for the jobs lost and people associated with the stadiums and games. The players should not be so blindly lead and greedy. But all that will end with the forthcoming cleansing of the economy!

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

      I'm glad this is happening, greedy sports players are a bad influence on our children. Close it all down.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ray

    Dude, its 2011 and you are still a racists. Hahaha. Pathetic. But its ok for baseball players to make more money right?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jack

    Just let them play the last 2 minutes of the season , that's all that matters anyway.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. descarado

    How many of these buffoons could find a job in the real world? 1% ?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Smukers

    The owners will cave. We are talking hugely talented athletes, not drone bank CEOs. Yes, the lockout will end, all because the owners are such a greedy bunch of capitalists. They will do anything imaginable to preserve their billions in investments.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • H in Texas

      Holy cow you need to do some more reading lol. There are 8, count them 8 teams that are even profitable under the current agreement. So tell me a gain how 22 team's owners losing money makes them greedy again? The players are being unrealistic. What?, do they want only owners that are philanthropically interested in basketball and don't want to make any money at it?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      The players are the greedy one, they get paid millions to PLAY A GAME. I hope this closes down the NBA for good.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chance

      Greedy capitalist? Sounds like the words of a lazy socialist

      November 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ardrukha

    Here's what the owners should do: tell these ignorant, out-of-touch athletes that there is now a salary cap of $100k a year and, if they don't like it, they can hit the road. Being as these guys are, for the most part, completely unskilled at anything besides sports, they will take it. And even if they don't, who cares? There's plenty of great athletes out there who would make for interesting games and who would be happy to make 100k a year.
    Donate excess money to charity and/or national deficit. Or keep it.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pcat

    the 99% standing up to the corporations!

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

      No, the 1% fighting over the outrageous amounts of money they lift from the 99% (ie fans) each year.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • smv

      Seriously!!! NBA players are part of the 99% ??? Talk about being out of touch with reality. They talk about CEO's making millions...look at pro athletes...look at entertainment stars...and yes, the owners too. Let's do without all this mind numbing 'entertainment' for a year or two. Believe me, life will go on without all of this crap. Then let them all come crawling back and do what they do for a reasonable wage...like the rest of us.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jack

    Unions destroyed this country.

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

      You are so very right!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • MeDotOrg

      Yes, with the 40 hour work week, two week's vacation, health and safety regulations, ending child labor, sick time, etc., etc.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Sorry Met, but unions had nothing to do with the 40hr week, vacations or health insurance. The 40 hour week was protested by unions when FDR enacted it in the first new deal under a "share the work" mentality. Health insurance and vacation was what business used to combat wage controls also put in place by FDR. Child labor was fought by the unions but not becuase it was seen as evil (which it wasn't since the US was an agrarian society when this was passed and child labor was part of farming), but to limit the workforce and thus drive wages up for members. As for safety regulations most unions were able to dictate their own safety standards on their own. The only reason they supported the government getting involved with safety was to provide the government with a tool for going after non-union shops that were undercutting union firms. Minimun wage was also pushed for along the same lines to cause non-union wages in the South to rise enough to prevent southern firms from undercutting union firms. There is nothing magnanimous about big labor.They take care of their own and everyone else can kiss off as far as they are concerned.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jalynne

    Pay them double minimum wage, give them a gym membership and see who stays "For the Love of the Game."

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

      The money IS their "love of the game".

      November 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Carol

    Greedy bums! They don't think about all of the people that work in the arenas who now have no income and the money lost by the cities, counties and states. They only think about how many houses and fancy cars they can buy. No sympathy for any of them

    November 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sanjay99

    We need a new NBA Commissioner to replace David Stern. I am not going to watch NBA or buy anything that relates to NBA till he is gone.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anon

    Basketball sucks anyways, who cares, on to real news...

    November 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Haha.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caddolakeguy

      Amen, brother!

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