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 ‚Äúcollective bargaining process has completely broken down,‚ÄĚ 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. freerein

    The only thing that could make me happier is if all the other professional sports leagues shut down too. Maybe that Hunter guy could start talking to those player unions too.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Make_a_comment_about_the_article_and_stop_being_ignorant

    As working Americans, we all know that if we were not getting paid what we deserve, we would gone on strike against or employers as well. Shut up with the ignorant comments about race. Better to be thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tap Out

    MMA all day long. Who needs basketball!!

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

      Because wrestling is horribly boring, and MMA has devolved into little more than that. The styles have become relatively indistinguishable as every fighter copies everyone else. Grapple-takedown-grapple-takedown-etc-etc-etc. MMA was much more entertaining 10-15 years ago. On top of that, Dana White is just another Don King. They need a legitimate system...not some schlub picking and choosing who fights who.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • NFL is bea real game.

      Plus, the players are already over paid.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James

    Goodbye NBA, didn't really care about you before with all your gangsters getting arrested, have even less time for you now in this economy, you think that proposal was bad, how about if the league goes away for good, which could easilly happen now if the fans completely revolt...And as to playing the race card, players in the league do it all the time, but its wrong when a white person does, go figure...

    November 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Buggy

    Can any of these guys cure cancer or make a blind person see !

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

      No. Mike Ditka never played in the NBA.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nick

    Where's the Occupy NBA people?!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan

    It's the NBA.........who cares? This is killling all pro sports, people don't care if someone cannot make ends meet on an NBA players salary..... If they strike theres always ganbanging and selling drugs to fall back on!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matthew

    Why don't the NBA players just form their own league and run it however they want?

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

      That should go for all employees ... all little reality check goes a long way!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Plexie

    I wake up, I got to work, I come home, and there is no NBA. I do not notice, go ahead and strike and cancel the season, 2 groups of greedy fools, and the rest of humanity DOES NOT CARE.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dont ask

    HA! Suck it LeQuit

    November 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bubba

    Who cares if the NBA comes back. Basketball is boring as hell! Even the WNBA is why bother. I hope it never comes back and leaves time slots open for baseball, football, hockey, and soccer. What is so exciting about a 6'5"+ person putting a ball literally into a hoop that is 3' higher with no effort? There is no talent in the game anymore as there was back in the day.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jon

    5 to 10 million dollars a year for jumping up and down with a basketball?? Where do I sign up.
    Signed: One of the 99%ers.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. trinida

    Just think, they are losing money each day they draaaag this on. Thank goodness we have the NFL through most of the winter and NCAA Basketball after that. Guess where all the NBA buck$$ is going.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Antonio

    OWS!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pcat

    Of course the players get paid too much...what the hell else is the NBA going to do with all the cash you people keep throwing at it?

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