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. David

    As much as I've loved the NBA and the game of basketball, I'm not missing it...season is too long, tickets are too much...I love my team and have watched them suck badly for the last two decades and for two decades before they sucked. I was a die hard, but I'm dieing easy on this one...Like everyone else, it's kind of insulting to watch these idiots kill their golden goose while we are fighting to keep our houses and other necesseties...the money is really the fans...and to watch these morons argue so that we can scrap money to buy our kids their favorite player's jersey or get tickets to a game...Count me out and I don't want to hear anymore about the sacrifices all of these millionaires are making so that they can squeeze a few extra dollars....If they put as much effort into playing on the court, we'd be more excited to participate. The league has quickly declined to punks, thugs, and bores...

    November 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Harry JP4JP4

    No NBA? Now, THATS fantastic!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris J

    On a per player basis, the NBA is the highest paid team sport in US sports, but these players are so interested in getting richer…oh, if you work in an arena for NBA games (vendor, security, usher) and you make an hourly wage and rely on additional income, the players could care less about you. They need to have 3 Bentleys in their driveway. In this economy, their greed is overwhelming…but they are so greedy they are happy to give up a year of salary they will never recover…so make that greedy and stupid.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike P

    I have trouble staying positive about any pro sports anymore. I suggest the players start their own league, bankroll it, and then see how it goes for them. They can use those college degrees they worked so hard for and business skills. I have not much sympathy for the owners either-it is you who paid these stupid salaries to the players and set precedent. The real world is a tough place right now, so sympathy from me is those who are looking for a job that feeds the family-not rich owners and players of sports. I just crossed the NBA off of my list for things to watch.

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

    What! None have saved for a rainy day..

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

      Just fire them all and hire players that want to play. They can still get paid a good amount to PLAY A GAME!!! These players are so greedy, they deserve to be fired.

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

      Really who cares about this? NBA is so boring nowdays maybe it's good for us sports fans

      November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Hunt

      I would imagine all that child support taps em pretty good.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Now Derek Fisher and company can go out and get real jobs. One that pays realistic money. They are to stupid to realize what they had.....millions for playing a game.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. susanjanie123

    These guys make multi millions every year, and are now demanding a half of the profits that traditionally belong to the owners? They play a GAME for a living. They make more money per 1 game, than a school teacher does all year long. Why aren't the OWS protestors all over this?

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

      Greed greed greed for playing a game that is decideed in the last 5 minutes -– BORING !!!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeD

      Most likely because the NBA doesn't rob people to produce profits, sure ticket prices may be steep, but they aren't saying that if you buy an NBA ticket now, it will be a worthwhile investment for your future and it's value will continue to grow.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • educated_marshall tucker

      Why does everyone compare their profession and salary to teaching school. Find another cliche!!! Can 15 school teachers entertain NBA fans for 2 hours on a Thursday night and generate millions in ad revenue. I'm merely asking the question. I teach college courses part time, I would never compare my pay with a Kobe Bryant's.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annette

      I agree susanjanie123. I've said the same thing... why do the athletes and movie stars get a pass being the "1%"? I don't understand that at all.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annette

      Marshall Tucker, why don't they take their millions they make generating ad revenue and give most of it back to the government so they can pay teachers more? Who says they are allowed to keep all that money they "earn"? The bankers and wall street fat cats, as the OWS people call them, are supposed to give back what they earn so that some protester can have his student loan paid for. I don't get the double standard. No one is saying a teacher should be compared to anything. What isn't logical is the hypocrisy on who is allowed to be rich, how rich and by what means they can acquire it.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jessica Lerma

    I am the ultimate basketball fan, but I must say I am so disappointed with the players. Greed has taken over. Those who play with passion and play for the LOVE of basketball will come around. All the others need to remove themselves from the league. You are over payed and act like thugs on the court, (i.e., Odem, Artest, Bryant, James, & many others).

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

    Several hundred people dyed in Syria, nearly 20 % of Americans are unemployed, etc. I am worried about NBA players whose sole contribution to humanity is above average hand-eye coordination and jumping skills not playing their kids game for $5 million per year. I may even go to church and pray for them.

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

    These people (the players) need to get a clue. So many people are unemployed and want to work (for a fraction of what these guys make). These jokers aren't happy making tons of money to play a game.

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

    I put this one on the players. They are totally out of touch with reality. They have NO IDEA how good they have it and how many people would LOVE to make a fifth of what they "earn." Try and find a job in the real world cry-baby boys, then maybe you wouldn't be so very GREEDY. That's all this comes down to. So the fans miss out on a season because the players are too GREEDY. Here's a suggestion: fire them all and hire unknowns who would be happy to play the game without worrying about how many millions they're making each year!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • pcf

      Very well said.

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

      Agreed, well said. So sad they wouldn't comprehend a word of it, were it explained to them.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pcf

    NO NBA? So what! Is anybody really going to miss overpaid hoodlums in shorts? Now those overpaid players can use their skill sets in another career field, like washing cars.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Hunt

      They know how to shine shoes the best. And fry cook at KFC

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

    I can't afford to bring the family to a game. So no issue for me. I love how the players always like to thank the fans but when I comes down to it, they don't care about the fans at all. I say good ridd'ns. Welcome to the real world of operating fork lifts and serving up the fries.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. glu

    Goodbye NBA, Bwaaaahaaaahaaaaahaaaa. you wont be missed by anyone.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike Hunt

    what the story did not say was the 2 white guys backed out of there slowly.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Big Al

    I miss the ABA. It was a much cooler league and a darn shame that it folded. I tell kids today that I saw Dr. J fly through the air at Nassau Colesium and most of them answer with "duuuuuuhhhhhhh..." Oh well. Baskeball was much more fun in the 70s.

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