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. astro24102

    I think most people could care less when so many people are doing without......

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

    Dallas Mavericks, champions forever, hahaha

    November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Plexie

    NBA players, lots of illegal aliens willing to take those jobs Americans do not want to do.

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

      If any of those aliens can do a quarter of what Kobe can. They will be swon in to be an American tomorrow. And they don't even have to sign up to go to Iran and be all the can be. (Wink)

      November 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hasselhoff

    I'm already watching College Bball, way better. I like NBA and I am a fan but both sides need to stop bickering like little school girls. You are adults. If you can't make a deal you shouldn't be a league.

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

      They are not adults.

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

    I'm sorry, but this is pathetic! Time to do away with the NBA and come up with another league. No person deserves to make $65 Million a year to play a sport! it's time to bring in the guys who play the sport becuase they LOVE to play the sport and not think of it as a paycheck. I know plenty of guys who would play for $100k a year just the play the game they love!!! All the cry babies can get "real" jobs. Oh yea, they can't read or write, so .................
    Welcome to the real world BOYS!

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

      Greedy people!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      I agree; your response makes total sense.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • d

      owners making much more and i as a basketball fan would not pay to see a bunch of playground hacks earnin "$100000" a yr. ill go down to venice beach and watch for free. as a business owner i take risks and pay my employes and earn $$.. but if my business fails...oh well....owners need to open their books and grow up....petchulant billionairs

      November 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • izy

      shame, just a shame, no love for the game, this is why this country is corrupt, im glad im not a nba fan

      November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jm

      Stop and think about it from a business point of view. The owners want to take money away from the players and the players want to keep the money that was given. If your boss came to you tomorrow and said he was going to reduce your salary and you said no under your logic you would be greedy too. The idea that people would play basketball for the love of the game is nonsense and irrelevant. Anyone in business is out to make the most money possible doing what we love to do. Besides if someone came to you and said take less because some other fool would work just as hard for less money how is that fair to you. At the end of the day you're just jealous you dont make that kind of money.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gerc

    Well, let's see who will cry, "uncle" first. Not been able to afford going to NBA games anyway, so nothing to miss there.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. trinida

    .

    November 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. stupid joker

    Shaq retires and the whole NBA goes to crap.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pcat

    Go Mavs!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BajaOwner

    No Bouncing Around.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. marineace

    Won't miss these thug players. Let them all go to Europe. The NBA is a disgrace.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. IceT

    I want 52% of the profits from the company I work for. If I don't get it I'm going to sue... maybe I can shut them down .. that'll teach 'em!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Amen, having work and now own my own company I can't believe the league hasn't just sent them packing. I'm all for a fresh start and let the players know if they want more, then they can carry more of the financial liability of the league and work a little harder. Otherwise suck it up and play some ball!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • d

      u will probably find that most worldwide companies spend "52%" on their total employes

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

    I am finished giving them my money! GREED,GREED

    November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gfh

    sally, if the players don't like playing for a white guy then don't play! The players signed the contract to begin with. They didn't care then that the owners were white. Get a grip!
    Go play some where else.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fineart

    This is the start of the adjustment: the new hires will be paid a lot less, and rightfully so. $100,000-$200,000 per year is about right. They don't deserve a dollar more than that.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:07 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