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. OregonMan

    Disgusting greed...and we think Wall St is bad?! Its a game you jokers. You are talented because you can get a ball into the hoops with skill. Awesome. Its not brain surgery. Grow up, suck it up, stand up and play.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ScottCalg

    Give the NHL a chance folks. Very entertaining

    November 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Badforu

    Let baskeball be played in some other country... and we just hear about it from time to time... like soccer. That suits me just fine.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ron brooks

    I say who cares about the NBA disbanding the union? It costs a small fortune to see these thugs play and then read later in the headlines of the stupid BS they pull on the sidelines. They could not get a regular job without the NBA now they are simply greedy. I say shut them down and see how they get by losing a few paychecks.

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

    We need more of things like this. We haven't been the last few decades, the media full of lies that somehow we'd be dot.com millionaires or whatever. But we have a "Global Sweatshop" not a "Global Village"

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

    Greedy,Greedy,Greedy. Shameful !

    November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LifeLong Mavs fan

    What a bunch of over paid, greedy, selfish and self centered 6 year old cry babies! Both owners and players! Hey, here's a thought....think about someone other than yourselves! Like your FANS!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shame on Them!!

    Let them all become unemployed so they can experience a dose of reality as to what it's like to not be able to pay their bills or buy their children new shoes, like so many others struggle with on a day to day basis. I'm very surprised that the Occupy America encampments haven't moved into some of the domes yet or that people do not choose to boycott such events in order to drive attendance prices down.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bookgirl

    This is not news. Seriously, how does this matter in the scheme of what's going on in the world? A bunch of tall, rich guys thinking they aren't getting enough. Lord have mercy.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jessica Lerma

    NBA: Don't let up on the players and don't give in. Many of these players have come from low income families and have grown-up poor. They have turned greedy and should be thankful to be in the league and to be living a better adult life.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 99percent

    this is truly laughable... this is how petty the 1% is... maybe some homeless NBA players can stay with Micheal Moore in his multi-million dollar Michigan mansion. HAHA

    November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bobbie

    It will be REAL interesting to see these ignoramuses when they have to find a real job! With their average education, they'll be lucky to find a job on the back of a garbage truck!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eric

    This just made my day. Not having to hear Marv Alpert's voice when changing channels will be like Christmas every day.

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

      yessssssssssssss?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. 6000000001stOne

    What ridiculous greedy people. SO separated from general society. And all for playing a game of ball.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    Ha Ha Ha-All losers and thugs. Greedy SOB's. Ha Ha Ha

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

      let me guess mike, you were always picked last in sports? or maybe you frequently heard "ugh i guess ill take" right before your name was called for a team

      November 14, 2011 at 5:21 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