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. Steve

    Smart move, guys! Really worked out for baseball, didn't it?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JV

    SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Millionaires and billionaires squabbling over nickles and dimes. I don't feel sorry for either side. BUT, I do feel sorry for the folks who are affected by this greed.....those who make their livings at the stadiums selling concessions, cleaning, etc. Bet they would like to have a bigger cut of the profits too....who represents them? Bet most of them don't make enough to buy their own kids one of the overpriced t-shirts or hot dogs that they sell.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Plexie

    Players are guaranteed an average of 5million per year while owners take th risk and if lucky the majority break even. The majority of Americans earn circa $60k per year. Sure BB players, complain about your difficult situation, and disappear.

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

      And for that 5 million a year, the players give up rights to their names, so the NBA can make 9 BILLION per year

      November 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      My sympathies with the players, I am willing to settle for 4 million.

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

    This is a lose/lose gamble no matter what. The players union decertifying is a weak attempt that will only manage to lose even more playing time for this season. That is also known as paychecks for the players. While many blast the players as millionaire crybabies, the reality is that a superstar player, the starters, and key rotation bench players see the lion's share of the salary on a given team. The bottom 3-5 players on a team are paid peanuts in comparison, although still handsomely compared to average incomes for the rest of us non athletes. Those are the players who are being most hurt by this time off, since the paychecks stop coming in. The longer this goes on, and a decertifying will take quite some time, the more likely it is that the players will begin to grumble about money and begin to clamor for a resolution to this fiasco. Which will lead to them accepting whatever terms the league demands. Just a plain stupid move.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dont ask

    too bad nobody cares what happens to the NBA players except the players. No one cares if you can't handle taking a paycut and salary cap. Poor babies can't shoot the ball for less than $5M a season? Awww. A real tragedy would be if all doctors decided to go on strike and not work for a year. I'm sure we will all be fine if the NBA NEVER plays again.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bamagrad03

    I wonder how many low wage workers will lose their jobs due to the lack of NBA season. And I wonder if these millionaire players even care...

    November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. spoiled nba players

    bunch of overpaid athletes complaining for more $ at the expense of everyone else. Wah. Sit on it.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. snowboggg

    its funny to see a monkey with glasses, tie and sweater vest. looks odd...somebody tell that naphead to get back to teh zoo

    November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fred Flintstone

    What a bunch of greedy, useless thugs. I'd love to see what each of them would do in the "real world" for a career and income. Fine with me if all pro sports leagues disbanded tomorrow– I have no interest in seeing them play.... and the cost to attend games is so high (tickets, parking, food, drinks, etc etc ) who can feel good about the expense and hassle. I really don't care if I ever again see a pro sports game. Don't let the door hit you on the way out fools....

    November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Could not agree more.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gerald Monahan

      Hear,hear,hear! I strongly agree with Fred Flintstone that those players are a bunch of greedy bums!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      You sound very disgruntal do you not make it to your pro sports dream. Why are the owners not thugs? They are in doing the same thing the players are. They want to be properly compensated for their part in making the NBA what it is. The question is who brings in more money to the league, is it the palyers or the owners.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JUGGERNAUT

    LMAO

    More people on here B**CHING and MOANING.

    if you dont care, why do you take the time to comments??? LMAO, m0r0ns.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      To show these fools nobody cares about the players not making an extra few million. They are so greedy. I hope they all lose their NBA status.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghamma

      i'll tell you why. im hoping that these guys get into the next planet of the apes movie....theyre spot on for the role. Look at 'em with theyre sweater vests, ties, and glasses....so cute those animals trying to be human.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @jason

      actually many people do care, that is why they have fans m0r0n.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @ghamma

      LOL...disguising your RACISM as a joke. nice try~

      November 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Well their fans are going away for a season hopefully 2.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghamma

      come on...tell me derek fisher wont pass as the head ape...give him a spear, slap a breast plate on him and tell me you dont have a summer blockbuster....Planet of the Apes 2: Escape from the NBA

      November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Well their fans are going away for a season hopefully 2 seasons.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @Jason

      you can wish it all you want, it wont happen.

      when the new season start people will keep watching and these players will keep getting RICH. I know you hate to see them making money, freaking hater.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      These players are nothing but greedy 1%r's, good riddance.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @ghamma

      how was your kkk meeting??? LMAO

      November 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      The NBA is finished.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @Jason

      you are nothing but a jealous broke m0r0n.

      good riddance??? they are not going anywhere. LMAO

      November 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @Jason

      the NBA will still be here hundreds of years after you died. LMAO

      November 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Well, they sure aren't playing or getting paid this season are they???

      November 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @Jason

      the majority of them have millions and endorsement. One season means NOTHING. LMAO

      November 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Leave it to uneducated ghetto folk to be greedy and want more for playing a child's game, nothing more. Basketball is a joke and these players should be getting paid maybe $1000 a week.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      I will never watch another basketball game if it does in fact ever have another season, these people are a joke.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @Jason

      LMAO LMAO LMAO LMAO

      your racism is showing, now i see why you hate them so much.

      Those "uneducated ghetto folk" make more than you and have a better life than you, their kids are going to top schools and receiving top education because daddy is RICH AS HELL. LMAO

      November 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • dmjk

      DITTO!!!!!!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kennydo

    with all that is going on with our economy people losing jobs, houses and cannot find jobs, i really dont care if they ever play another day and i was a fan not anymore no doubt the owners can hold out longer than the players. i feel sorry for the arena workers and all of the individuals and businesses that depend on the NBA for their lively hood.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    Although I have no love for the NBA, all sports need to collapse under these pay structures. If you want attendance, if you want people to show up and spend money... make it cheaper. First step is keeping the salaries under control.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      That anyone would pay more than $15 to see a professional sporting event is beyond me. Make the ticket prices reflect reality, and adjust all salaries to fit the budget.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mithra1225

    Oh, well...college BB is much better anyways....

    November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Yes, and at least those players don't get paid. (wink)

      November 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. manny

    Unions are a cancer of the economy. Why should players get half the profit? Do they pay the owners when they are in the red losing money? They should shut nba down for 5 years and then see what the union thinks..nba talent is terrible anyways...how about union refunding fans money for lebrons performance

    November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake poole

      Here is why....Lebron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the teams worth dropped by nearly 200 MILLION dollars. You think he was worth 15 million a year?

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

    Oh great...expect an increase in the crime rate...more thugs on the streets.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghamma

      thats a good point....lets put them in the zoos....and pay them in bananas

      November 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane is hateful

      Way to show your ignorance and bigotry to the world Jane!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
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