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. God Fails

    Get in the unemployment lines idiots!! Boringball is dead!

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

    The vast majority of the U.S. didn't even know they weren't playing. Basketball has had its day. Now its the same as soccer.

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

      Basketball is the 2nd most popular sport in the world, behind soccer.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Except that soccer is on a fast uptrend, and the NBA is headed down. At least soccer has some defense...

      November 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. H in Texas

    The players are being idiots, the vast majority of NBA teams are losing money every year (22 of the 30). That means they can't stay in business unless the owners just keep giving money so they can say "hey I own an NBA team". So why would they want to perpetuate a flawed business model and hope that the owners will just keep losing money because they can have bragging rights? Completely out of touch.

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

      Go Mavs!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake poole

      Every sport has a majority of teams that lose money..EXCEPT THE NFL...Why is that? Because the NFL has a revenue sharing plan between the owners...Big market teams actually give money to small market teams. Not because of player salaries

      November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luis

      The lose money because many of them overpay for a player in order to obtain the services of that player. Free agency and the way GMs/Owners approach it is what is killing them. If player x is a coveted free agent, his former team offers him 5 mil a year for 4 years because they know what he is worth. Another team, who maybe needs someone of his skill set or talents, is willing to pay him 8 mil a year for 5 years. Yet another team that needs the same thing finds this out, and is willing to pay him 9 mil a year for 5 years. So how is the player at fault for taking what is offered to him? The GMs and the owners have no restraint when it comes to making these offers, and then bemoan the fact they are stuck paying salary cap fines and additional salary for a player to do what they originally paid this guy to do, all because they "thought" his problems were based upon his prior team's coach, system, etc. Free market at it's finest. The owners and the players are all guilty of ruining this sport.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. No Future

    And I always thought a giant meteorite killed off the dinosaurs. It was a rejected league offer that did them in.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BillyBob117

    Now, there will be riots in the hood--Is not that what joe bite me said--

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

    You are such a racist!!!!! And you wonder what is wrong with America... YOU are what is wrong with America. I will pray that you gain some intelligence before leaving this earth. God Bless!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Whoneedsit

    I couldn't be happier that the NBA is having a breakdown. Of all the sold out sports players, they are the worst. Down with the NBA!

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

      Bunch of ugly tattoo'd spoiled boyz! Does anyone miss Basketball? Who cares. Put the money in Soccer and Rugby...real athletes.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan

    Fire them and hire people at federal minium wage, allow them the pleasure of playing a game for a while and suddenly they might stop making stupid demands like 50/50 profit sharing...which even the teamsters aren't stupid enough to ask for let alone go on strike!!!

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

    What is the NBA?

    November 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JUGGERNAUT

    @Jason

    you are never going to watch a game??? LMAO, like WHO CARES??? they are not going to miss your $10, LOL

    November 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lifesentence

    Good Riddance! "Professional" athletes, and I use the term VERY loosely, have been getting paid WAY too much for way too long...welcome to the real world.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. B-rad

    racist

    November 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Catmuffin

    Don't yall feel they need to get a cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    yay! no basketball. the players make enough money, they don't need more. go work a real job.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DF--CALIF

    My goodness, those poor overpaid players are going to have to forgo steak and eat like the rest of us.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67