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. George McLean

    Nobody wins with then a season is lost. I would ask that both sides consider the people who don't have millons of dollars to fall back on .

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

      Please they couldn't care less. All they want is their money. It's a shame the public actually admires these idiots.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Ironically, there are no losers either. It is all just for entertainment. When one spectacle goes away, the masses will find another entertainment venue to find amusement.

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

    I didn't even notice they were on strike. The players are immensely overpaid as it is and not they want more than 50% along with all their product endorsements? Talk about greedy–I hope the season is completely canceled.

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

      There is no such thing as being overpaid

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

    These guys make too much money for playing a game.
    Now they want to hold their employer hostage, take food off of the table of all support staff and related industry ( concession, janitorial, waitstaff, hotels etc)
    Most of the people that will be hurt by the greed of a bunch of undreeducated jocks will be hard working people that cannot even dream of making as much as these fools do.
    I hope the owners stick to their guns and replace these guys with men that will play for the love of the game and a fair compensation.

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

      BUT WHO WILL COME AND SEE THESE – new players, lovers of the game. espescially since they are no bodies. If it were that simple ppl would just watch foreign basket ball- not gonna happen. Ppl are so infatuate with these players because of all the hype behind them over the course of their career. Call them what you want – greedy, selfish etc, but u should really blame those that recruited them and promised all the fame and fortune. Now they want to renig- lol. I don't think that players " need" the owners. They are the main attratction and can play anywhere. But , the owners "need" the players- after all who are you coming to see?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jim

    Save to say most of their careers are now over.

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

    these players are completely spoilt. Atleast if it was the NFL i'd care. NFL players actually put their lives and lively hood at risk all the time (they suffer extreme physical trauma from playing football) but what do NBA players risk? Nothing. Spoilt little children putting people out of work at the stadiums all because they think they need more money to dribble a ball around the court. Its time for the NBA to just flush these wasteful punks out and get in some fresh faces willing to play the sport.

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

      (chuckles) My sport is a "real" sport, and your's is not.
      (by the way, I believe that "spoiled" is the word you are looking for)

      November 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anthony

    Racist much? Napheads? Christ, you racist white boys are very funeee!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dick jones

    who cares?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. IceT

    Until they share the risk and share the investment and share the losses .. the employees have no claim to the profits, just their paychecks based on what the market will bear.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan Bednarik

    It is just a game - who cares.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake poole

      NBA revenue is 9 Billion annually...its not just a game

      November 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. paul

    don't these bozo players know who butters their bread?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ZAS

    Please don't ever come back. I could care less about ever seeing Lebron "Bafoon" James do anything on a BB court. These people have to the the dumbest people on this earth. Don't they realize WE DON'T CARE IF THEY EVER COME BACK. These clowns act like Thugs, are basically illiterate who gave 50% effort when they were playing. Most of them probably bought 10 Bentleys and threw their money away and in 2 or three months will be bakrupt, The NBA owners should start signing replacement players tomorrow and make a pact TO NEVER SIGN ANY EXISTING NBA PLAYER TO ANY CONTRACT AS LONG AS THE LEAGUE EXISTS.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jahoo

      so YOU dont care if the players ever play ball again? Why then, do you insist on Stern signing new players to the league? Is it so you can watch basketball again perhaps? I can probably agree with you about one thing. These players are greedy and provide nothing important to society. They should recognize how extremely lucky they are to play a game for millions and millions of dollars, 4 months a year. I will never attend another basketball game, as well as buy into the NBA brand.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pcat

    I thought I clicked on a CNN DISCUSSION FORUM, not a Ku Klux Klan meeting...

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

      that's pretty much what America has become. A nation of super polarized fringe groups.

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

      You can always bet that racists will show up given a chance to spout their ignorance.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    Beginning of the end for the NBA and maybe professional sports in general. As you can see from the posts, not much sympathy for this group of children (players) and greedy old people (owners). The NBA isn't exactly a necessity in our lives, just a nice but unnecessary diversion. We can do without it.
    Why should we respect or care about this group of self-centered buffoons (on both sides)? Good riddance.......

    November 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Who_Gives_a???

    This is ridiculous. Players are too Greedy. If I am running a business and hire employees to work for me, they can't demand profits of the business as long as they are paid what they bargained for.

    All the RISK to the OWNERS and Players want profit. Sucks. I should be in NBA.

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

      absolutely incorrect. and to compare your business to that of the nba is ridiculous. you see, the NBA has annual revenues of 9 BILLION...which they earn because of the names on the back of the Jerseys. You see, the players are the product.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    Good Riddance NBA. We're tired of overpaid, uninspired, heartless players.
    Bring on NCAA Ball !

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