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. Whoopdeedoo

    This is breaking news, seriously?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      How isn't it breaking news? Its the latest in a story that has been going on for months. Therefore, it is breaking news.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Yes. Yes it damned well is. It isn't just the players who aren't working now. It's all the folks who work in all the stadiums in addition to the businesses that surround them, like restaurants, hotels, parking garages, bars, etc. A whole lot of people are being hurt by this lockout and/or strike, but you can be sure it isn't the players or David Stern.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TIM

    I know it's just a pipe dream but I truly hope they never come to an agreement and disband the NBA all together.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      But... But... But... Won't the sky fall, or something? Are you trying to say that we could SURVIVE without professional basketball? That you DON'T think it's fair that these people make millions, while professional teachers are sometimes close to the poverty level?!? OMG!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dinak

    Where are the occupiers? Looks like these greedy 1% athletes are not satisfied with earning a couple of HUNDRED thousand a years to play with a ball.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ImForThePlayers

    It seems most people are missing the point, the players arent asking for raises they are asking their employer to not cutting a portion of their income amoung other things. everyone is so ready to jump on the players for being greedy but, if your employer wanted to cut your income and you had the chance to protest it wouldn't you? The amount in question is irrelevant to me because its the principle of the matter.

    when employers cut the average joe's salary it is considered corporate greed, but when the employee in question makes a sizable amount of money opinion seems to sway that the employee is the greedy one.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryJr

      REALLY...Get a life and learn some business 101. Unless you are putting some of your own assets on the line, be happy you have a job. I don't think the players are going to the bank and signing on the line to secure the loans. In this type of ecnomy EVERYONE needs to pony and accept some cutbacks. In the NBA case I feel both sides are wrong and GREEDY. Try cutting back on the ticket prices and give the fans a break for a change!!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • devillo

      NBA players are spoil over paid brats that america has feed into just like every other sport. They DO NOT deserve anything more than a science teacher working in a poor district earns. Endorsements, paid speaking engagements they get paid to much. You love the game and benefit from the PERK of getting paid for what you LOVE to do. So many Americans that want to work and earn a good living for their family and send there sons and daughters to school to get a good education can't because there are not enough jobs to go around. They B–ch about a few million when all of prideful Americans in our country worry about how they are going to feed there family's. It's all greed and gluttony of money. I think there are millions of Americans out there that can play basketball. Maybe it's there shot!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not really

      Sure, if I'm a lower or middle class worker, I would not be happy about my employer cutting my income, but you either accept the reality or you move on. Besides, teachers and public servants are taking it on the jaw, willingly, all over the country. I pity THEM. I don't pity anyone making 7-figures plus to "work" playing sports.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      This is the most realistic, empathetic comment on this thread. Thanks for the Common Sense!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iheartyou

      Completely agree with you. But I'm more of the opinion that EVERYONE in sports makes entirely too much money. Period. Since when did playing with a ball, or lip-syncing to crap music, or reading lines in front of a camera become more valuable of a skill than teaching children, or nursing the sick back to health, or protecting freedoms whether it be police at home or soldiers abroad??? The whole thing makes me sick quite frankly. Society is so bassakwards.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dr. $

    The owners are making more $$$ than the players. That's why they are called owners. If a player wants to make as much as the owners, they should buy a team and be an owner. As it is, the players are already making millions of $$$. They say that's not enough? Boo-friggin-hoo.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FelipeBR

    Good!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. "Buy dey mama a Escalde"

    This is not the NFL. The NBA teams do not virtually print their own money like the NFL teams do. There are only couple of markets that are truly viable as most struggle to stay afloat and do not regularly fill their arenas. The game presented to the fans is watered down as the talent pool in the league has suffered greatly from all the early draft entries that are eager to sign a contract and fullfill a shoe-deal dream that won't likely happen. The NBA would do well to contract and spread some of the talent around and try to find a way to keep players together to help build actual teams that will endear them to their communities and fanbases. The NBA lost me along time ago when their image changed and it was evident that playing the sport of basketball wasn't as important as making it to sign the dotted line.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JONSON

    Anyone laying blame at the owners feet is full of crap. These greedy ass players have driven the cost of a game through the roof. 5 years ago, a friend of mine paid in excess of $1k for half a seasons worth of upper level, corner seats to an NBA team. Thats just friggin insane. And to wheover said "most of the players aren't millionaires..." the AVERAGE SALARY of an NBA player is $5 mill. FIVE MILLIION!!!!!!! Pull your head out.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • balls

      math for tards – if one player makes 20 million and 4 players make 1 dollar, the average is 5 million per player. so while i dont know the real answer to the post, it is possible that most players make under 1 million.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harold Fields

    These people are pathetic. How greedy are you? Millions to play a kids game? You are all jokes. Honestly, who will miss the NBA anyway? 7 foot tall goons that can stand and put the ball in the hoop? Talent! But it's for the love of the game, right guys?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      "7 foot goons that can put a ball in a hoop" Tell me Harold...what is so good about what YOU do?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hahahha

    *yawn* good riddance!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. munroe

    nobody cares.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    End it this year and for years to come.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MIKE

    I hope they are not eligible for unemployment..

    November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. elpmet66

    Let the players rot in h____. The owners should shudder two teams, hire replacement players, and get some backbone. Start by letting this thing go to court forever. Keep appealing every liberal judges ruling and you can bet there will be those. Take all the way to the Supreme court. The present players will lose millions or go to Europe, ups they are broke too. Remember every year we get at least 100 or so good players from college who needs these thugs.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos Gonzalez

      I support your comments 100%. We have to stop this situation once and for all. The fans are the victims of this out of proportion demands from the players as at the end the ticket prices will go up on and on.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mit

    These poor, poor millionaire athletes. They have it so hard =(

    November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
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