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. Harpman

    I've been reading the comments. Not much love for the players. tsk, tsk.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mike

    Oooh I just feel so bad that these idiots can't make millions of dollars for throwing a ball around. I'm so sad for them, indeed.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SPA Knight

    Another great union in America destroying jobs!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike2

    Maybe CNN can find a way to blame this on Herman Cain.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jroc

    so many jealous clowns in here

    November 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Just fire them all and hire other players that are willing to make good money for PLAYING A GAME.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Playjojo

      Yeah, jealous, that's it. You either have no comprehension skills regarding math, over the top greed, OR a relative who plays.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J. Scott

    Team owners only purchase teams as part of their larger investment portfolio due to either their love of the sport or cache. It is not a wise investment. So, it is senseless for these millionaire players to demand even more money for playing basketball. They should form their own league and split all the profits. It's time to take out the middle man. Players and fans are all that is needed. Just like with music, record labels are no longer needed.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Good thought, except you need someone to carry the liabilities of buildings, employing scouts/secretaries/janitors/ect all the while dealing with te politics needed to get new stadiums built and sponsorships to grow...somehow I doubt 99% of the players want to or could even try to do what is required to successfully run an NBA team.

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

    Lets use their salaries and start paying real professionals like teachers and police officers.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scamerica

      GREEDY PLAYERS! HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH???

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

    There are people out of work and these F#@Kers are crying about no money. Fire them all!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      They just fired themselves !!!! Ha HA hA Ha HA Idiots.

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

    wah wah wah! now i am going to have to turn in my rented rolls bentley and hock my 4 gold chains. anyone hiring an nba player, i would like a ceo job somewhere if possible. please call 1-800-gold-chain....................

    November 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mike2

    THIS IS HORRIBLE, THOSE IDIOTS GOTTA WORK AT KFC NOW HAHAAAAAAAAAAAA

    November 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    The NBA is awful.... Please go away forever.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      I always hated basketball. Oh well.....

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

    People are hurting. In this economy revenue prjections have to be way down, 28 teams are losing money. NBA players braintrust er, wow, now that's an oxymoron.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jason

    People that do real work should get paid more, not people that play a game for part of the year and get paid millions.

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

    The Players are making so much millions and should realize the people cannot afford to ggo to games and should
    take the offer. "Beggers can not be chooser"

    November 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fineart

    This is what the Occupy Movement is all about. Greed, greed and more greed. There are people starving to death in this country and these guys have $20,000 diamonds hanging from everywhere you can attach them. Let them all suffer.

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

      There is no one starving in the US unless they are completely unaware of the welfare system. If you are personally aware of any one who is starving, please help get them enrolled.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
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