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. justAFan

    come on players! pick-up game at my house if your bored or need practice! i dont have a lot of money so i can pay you in gum!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Plexie

    "players' demand to raise the average salary." Yes, at $5 million per year average they are underpaid, I feel for them. Hope the NBA never returns. Greed should not be rewarded.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nail

    Man, I have been deprived of watching the Nets suck again this year.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jimmy Crack Corn

    They're already paid millions to shoot a ball through a hoop. They should be Grateful. Most of us are payed less than six figures to do far more complicated task. I think once they realize the real world (such as computer programming, 3D, engineering, etc) is too advanced for them, they will be begging the NBA to let them shoot a ball through a hoop again.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MathMan2011

    This is a good opportunity for the owners to reset salary levels. Let all those one-percenters go, hire all independent players. It's like Reagan firing the air traffic controllers and Thatcher busting the miner's union...

    November 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. American Man

    Who cares if there is no basketball? I don't! They're all overpaid to begin with. Throw the whole league out and start over again. I'm sick of corporate greed running prices through the roof.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • NitPikkr

      That was my original reaction too, and still is. My secondary thoughts are for all the people who depend on games for their concession job or other related workers who are not lucky enough to make millions a year. Those are the folks I am concerned for.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gary

    Offer the players $50K a year .. if they don't like it, end the NBA. I'm sick of meat heated gangsta thugs making millions for being able to jump. Spend the money on kids' education.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • maximusvad

      Yes. This !

      November 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously

      I approve.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MJisADisgrace

    All the respect I had for Michael Jordan just disappeared. He forgot what it was like to be a player and showed everyone what a greedy person he turned out to be... As an owner, he fought against what he believed as a player.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadenufyet

      Yeah, kinda like Ronald Reagan , being past pres of the screen actors guild , then killing off patco when he made POTUS.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Thethrill

    Who gives a crap the NBA has become a horrible product.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. corntrader19

    No basketball season? That is the best news I have heard in a while. I was hoping football season would be cancelled, too, but they came to an agreement in the last minute. These fools are insulated from the real world. I wish the fans would all get together and boycott the games until the players are paid less.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerry

    Who cares? I prefer the college game anyways.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rabi

    As a fan I have to say,, the players are a foolish lot. They do not care for the game but how they can milk during the game season. Rest of the time they fool around and media covers there every move.. The courts they play would not be around but for the largesse of the tax payers who indirectly foot the bonds used to pay for the arena, taxes we pay each time which is almost a weeks pay check for a family of 4. In a capilaist society busines owners need to cover there end too. I am a small business and never seen a business where the material cost is 50% in this case players. The players are also foolish to hire a high profile guy like Boies whose only job is line his pockets and increase his visibility. Players are also foolish knowing well that a lot of programs for emerging talent willl also be in the cold room. . That's the place for the union too cool their n..ts off . From recession on teh job front here we go to recession on the job front. At this rate in a fe years we all will probably watch outsourced basketball being played out of China where we can get 100's of talent for 1/10th the tantrum and headache of the NBA players and advertisers will get a good bang for the buck in terms of viewership. Our forced to retire basketball stars can give expert comments on the side lines for a free condo in Shanghai and gambling and lap dance in Macau courtesy of our very own Yankee owner of Wyn resorts. We are used to seeing the top stars looking up to them but in future games in China we will have the pleasure of looking down at them courtesy of the future leagues top Chinese 8 foot players

    November 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BB Gun

    I love the game, but the greed last turned me from an NBA fan into finding something better to do with my time. I rarely side with owners, but they bring the money to the table and have the profit / loss concerns while the players simply want more than a 50/50 position. Makes no sense to me and exiting stage right from the NBA for good... I feel bad for the ushers, vendors, and all the local businesses that do not make the million dollar contracts and probably laying off workers due to this impass.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nofakingway

    Have a nice winter boys. Not gonna miss you!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lexor

    cant belove they are not playing booooooooooooooooooooo

    November 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
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