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. Brad

    I hope people realize how terrible these players are and how greedy they are and simply stop supporting the sport as a result.

    But we all know that won't happen. Occupy the NBA.

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

    This just shows how 'professional' sports players in this example the NBA, stopped playing because they love the sports they play. Now they play for money.
    Nice.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Financial Guru

    These idiot players are somehow blinded to the fact that they are already grossly overpaid for the "work" they do, and deluded into believing that they are somehow ANYTHING more than employees who do NOT have the right to dictate terms of their employment to their employers. Time to break that union, slap those players down hard and let unions watch in utter horror as it happens.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOB THE BUILDER

    While I agree that the Players should be compensated more so than they are (due to the Jersey's that they sell have thier name on the back, people pay to go to games to see the players no the owners, etc), they make WAY too much money to play a sport. In my opinion, all sports "stars" should be capped at $1,000,000 per year. All other monies should be shaved off the price everything costs. $60 for a ticket to a game? $60 for a jersey? WAY too ridiculous. That's not even getting into the cost of concessions. It's time to get back to a more practical country, and it doesn't just start with Government. Everyting in this country costs way too damn much anymore.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • sweed

      In other words, "the rent is too damn high!"

      November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. david

    Why is it when an ultimatum is given like...take it or leave it...the person who gave the ultimatum always blames the other side when the ultimatum is not taken? There is enough blame here to go around. But when one side gives concessions every step of the way, then it is likewise expected the other side will also make concessions. The NBA gets what they deserve.

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

    Bring back the ABA and seed the league with the players willing to participate under a reasonable salary cap.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jorge Sedano

    Does this mean that the NBA no longer exists? Time to party ... Maybe all our shaving costs will go down now that these boys will no longe3r be paid for playing a game...

    November 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    I hope both sides lose massive amounts of money. Of course neither will end up flat poor sadly. But one can hope for as much as is possible.

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

      The ones whose only skills are drinking Christal and bouncing an orange ball will end up flat poor.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nelson

    Welcome to the rank of the "unemployed" mofos! I sure hope you will not dip into the unemployment fund that belongs to people who work for a living.

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

      So much for Unions. Nothing but greed and more greed. Just who benefits? Union Mafia. Collective bargaining? The power and money goes primarily to those in charge and to the Democratic Party to keep them off their backs.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steven E

    What a great opportunity to support your local semi-pro (insert sport here) team! Go RedHawks!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Plexie

    Good riddance NBA, I hardly knew ye. Greed on all sides and I COULD NOT CARE LESS.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Davesh

    You guys get paid to bounce a ball for my entertainment. If you don't bounce a ball, I'll go be entertained by something else. I have a short attention span any..... oh, look, a new bike.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bilbo Jackson

    How mindless is it to post about how the players "make a lot of money" while people are unemployed, homeless, jobless, starving, ball-less etc.? Thanks for the profound insight. There are two sides to this argument; I guess we should just side with the guys making the hundreds of millions of dollars instead of the players at the low end of the spectrum.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why Use Facts

      Yes, we should just side with the guys making hundreds of millions of dollars and ignore the poor little guys only making millions. It is hard to feel any empathy for either side.

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

      The players at the low end of the spectrum still belong to the 1%, making sums of money most Americans can only dream of. Greed is once again rearing its ugly head. S. Marbury recently called out M. Jordan for forgetting he once belonged to the players union and is now part of ownership that wants to keep the fruits of its risks. This is clearly a case where a union should have NO bargaining rights for the employees making over $1M per year. If that doesn't buy you enough cars, houses, bling and women, start your own team/company. Take the financial risk all business owners take and reap the benefits.

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

    Not missing the NBA right now. Between the NFL, College Foot Ball and Basketball who cars.

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

      I just hate it for the economy. Even in a down economy, each team and the community it's situated in stands to lose great revenues over this. 41 home games: 10K – 18K tickets per game, TV revenue, parking, concessions, alcohol, etc. Lots of money not being spent and made.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. YellowHammer

    Bring in some of those guys who didn't make it to the NBA, but got close. Pay them a handsome living wage, and watch them play because they love the game. I suspect that this strike will fall apart much like the NFL strike did years ago.

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