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. yoshi

    I support the players. The rich arrogant owners cut a deal with the players and now they are harassing them to get back more of the pie. The players are not demanding anything, just trying to hold on to what they have. Sure, maybe the owners needs more revenue, but this is not the way to go about it – bullying the players and threatening them.

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

    less basketball=more crime

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

    yay.. NBA sucks anyways.. Bunch of Pre-Madonas that need to get a life..

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

    It is the worst prof sport out there......couldn't be happier, hopefully there will just be more opportunity for college bball to be on TV.

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

    If all BB fans (and all sports fans) would "boycott" all the games for a season, it might wake up the owners and the greedy players. It's the fans that keep sports going. But when the going gets too "costly" especially for ticket prices, fans should look elsewhere for good entertainment at a reasonable price. BOYCOTT...BOYCOTT...BOYCOTT!!!

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

      BOYCOTT!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Longer A Sports Fan

      I totally agree. Used to watch sports but stopped right after the baseball strike. No longer purchase any sports merchandise as well. They have to realize that it is the fans who pay their obscene amount in salaries.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JesusWasAJew

    The players make too much money for this greedy strike bs. The owners only want to make their business profitable, and the players want 50%!? They should be happy with the multi-million dollar contracts they get

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

      Absolutely

      November 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      What does this teach our children?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceT

      If only the players & their union had that common sense!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan Johnson

      Jesus is a myth

      November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    NBA players are the highest paid athletes as a group already. No one should get paid that much in sports. We need better priorities in this country. Many of us won't miss the season that much anyway. These greedy idiots didn't want to compromise, be reasonable and appreciate what they have been given so now they sue...typical of Americans these days.

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

      Plenty of non-Americans in NBA nowadays.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tickers

    If they would quit losing money in the stock market they might have some of them millions left they get over paid with.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. True Freedom

    I gave up the big 4 pro sports after the last NFL strike. I have so much more free time.. and I can still get my kicks from college sports, where there still seems to be an innocent love for the game.

    All pro sports does.. is make my tennis-shoes and beer horribly expensive. Down with pro sports!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. moe smith

    Fnck those skill-less waste of oxygen. nothing but divas looking for a stupid amount of money to do no more than play games like they did at recess in gradeschool. get real jobs or make yourselves useful by becoming worm food.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • miller

      LOL, looks like that group behind the podium has a combined IQ of about 70. Luckily it doesn't take much brains to say "I want more, more, more" even a two year old can do it.

      I wish these idiots knew what it was like for a woking person to have to do without extras for a month just so he can afford $150 tickets to take his son to a game.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Greg

    NO ONE CARES! These over paid Prima Donna’s need to be put in their place! Time take the money away from these babies and tell them who their boss is! If you work for me and you have a contract, shut your mouth and do your job!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. moe smith

    fnkk those divas. hope the NBA disbands and they all end up working at mcdonalds

    November 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. moe smith

    Ahh the price to pay to take your talentless a$$ to south beach. fnking divas... all of them.

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

    Never going to another NBA game...EVER! Take that you pompus a$$es!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. UPCHUCK

    Sigh...

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