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. currious

    A bunch of rich millionaires wanting more money. now, only well to do people can afford to watch NBA games. I don't understand how an athletes/owners can make million of dollars and wanting more. How about spend that type of money on education vs basketball.

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

      education before sports, you must be crazy!

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

      At least the owners take the risk & invest their money to deserve the pofits .. if there are any.

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

      two groups of men, both in the top .001 perecent of wage earners, arguing over millions of dollars.....now is when we need a good kardashian or lohan story 😦

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

      The whole pro sports thing is a joke. Our country is falling apart and the rich basketball players are crying that their millions are not enough. Am I the only one who thinks their greed is part of the problem in todays society? Go get a real job like everybody else. Grow up! Who wants you anyway!

      g

      November 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ransteel

      Hey that today's world, the rich just keep wanting more and everyone else suffers. Professional sport is always funny. These are billionaires fighting millionaires over the few millions that are left, crazy.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • freemarketworks

      that's why you won't ever make millions.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lou50

    Past time to shut down the sport and allow these gentlemen to move to the San Joaquin Valley and be trained to pull carrots and other produce. This would allow the country to deport all the illegals out there!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. coder

    Yes – Finally the NBA can go away – hopefully the NFL will go the same route

    The amount of money involved is corrupting everyone involved. It's no longer a sport.

    The all need to go back to being humble and great, rather then getting rich and doing little.

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

      I agree. The day salaries started growing because it became a big crybaby who makes what, in ANY sport, they stopped being just that. They held sway over T.V channels, tickets, memorabilia. The game became secondary.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. IceT

    Packers vs Vikings tonight on MNF! ... NBA who?

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

      word! gonna be a showdown

      November 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Catmuffin

    No, Ifeel everyone one of them should get a cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mark in arkansas

    Hey, more coverage for football anyway. Basketball players will find out what baseball players found out. The fans don't care about their bloated salaries. Basketball and baseball combined don't pull in a tenth of the revenue football does. Stay on strike, let's have a 12-month football season!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    romin, what branch of the KKK do you belong?

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

    Good riddance. Another pathetic example of greed on both sides – owners and players alike. The sun will still rise tomorrow, and the vast majority of people won't really care whether or not there is NBA basketball or not.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. D. Stern

    There's going to be a lot of bling bling and gold rings available at the pawn shops if they don't work out a deal ASAP. Gonna have to disband the posses too as you can't afford to have one with no paycheck. What a bunch of doofuses – these guys are about to have a rude awakening to the real world which they haven't been playing in for quite some time. Good riddens to them – bring in the benchwarmers!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ted Peters

    I'm just wating for Obama's NLRB to step into fray on the side of the poor downtrodden players.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. huey

    Next year, offer them 45%. The year after that, 40%....

    November 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • D. Stern

      That's exactly right. See how they do without a paycheck – beetches come running back.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pcat

    I'm sure if your forefather would've seen what you've become today he would've gladly castrated himself...NO ANESTHETICS

    November 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ghamma

    aint that the truth....they would probably have regretted letting that basketball thing be invented too. Shouldve jsut left them int eh cages and paid them in bananas.

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

    NBA players should receive a fair salary for playing a game for a living. Since they are the best in the world, then $30-40K sounds about right. Certainly they should make less than someone who actually works for a living.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. genuine1

    I don't see many Western European Americans in the above picture.

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