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. Donald in CA

    Since i work for a living nothing the NBA does will affect me. Its football season anyways. I bet college basketball will not go on strike.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stan Johnson

    One word......GREED.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sports Lover #1

    The players are right. The NBA Owners are LYING. A 50-50 revenue split is a JOKE when the NBA owners won't open their books and prove the profits being lost. When the owners won't share revenues from larger markets to support smaller markets. Of course NY, LA, Chicago are going to draw all the fans. But perhaps Oklahoma City needs some support, even though it was KEVIN DURANT + RUSSELL WESTBROOK that changed everything for that franchise. The OK City Thunder owners wouldn't be jack without the two ballplayers. Remember, the players didn't go on strike. They were LOCKED OUT by the owners and demanded to take all these paycuts. Tell the owners to honor the contracts, and offer pay raises to the players in the future should the league grow. It will only grow because of players. Nobody pays money to see David Stern in a business suit. Nobody wants to see the referees, no matter how poor the NBA officials are and how much they try to outshine the players. People want to see PLAYERS not owners. The players are the product that's marketed and also the product that's sold. The players deserve better in these negotiations. The owners are trying to bully the players into playing for less money. And remember, the proof is because the owners locked the players out.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sean Rawles

    Laughable that a 50/50 split of such an enormous pot isn't enough for you. I'm sure starving people everywhere just love to hear about this. Jerks.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Real World

    The payers kill me, they had there college paid for they make millions to put a ball in a basket my dog can do that and I only have to give him a bisquit. Think about all the people that work at the stadiums who will be laid off ..Get replacement players who want to work and play the whole game instead of just offence and waddle back on " D".

    I dare anyone out there to go tell the owner of your company if you don't give me more of your company that you bought with your money back when I didn't have any I'm going on strike ,he would fire your butt. Oh and throw in I want it guaranteed. ahaahahahaha. Don't hire the players back , make them work like the rest of us and struggle like us. Owners make the money because ,get this THEY OWN THE COMPANY. If you want a piece of the pie get a real degree in college and earn it ,don't demand it from someone who built what they have doing real work not playing a game

    November 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      ..." to put a ball in a basket my dog can do that and I only have to give him a bisquit" that's a bit of stretch.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceT

      abso-freeking-lutly!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Bichen

      It is extremely important that we, the fans, explain to the league and the players exactly whose league this is. When they finally get their act together and start to play again, we should respond by refusing to pay them one nickel. No games, no merchandise, no TV NBA packages, nada. MLB almost destroyed the league with a strike and hockey has never recovered. They get paid to play basketball. It may not be easy, but it is a lot better than what most of us do for a living. There was a time not long ago when professional athletes didn't make much more than the rest of us. It would seem that the NBA players and owners need to be reminded what that feels like. My opinion, yours may differ.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambones

      Can we please get on with some actual news? Wow, thank you for attempting to inform me about how the latest batch of millionaires can not agree on how to divide their massive money stack. It is a kid's game that these guys make a TON of money off of. I hope the league goes away and all of thse imbeciles can go get real jobs for 30-80k/year and see how they like that lol! It's pathetic so many people care about these out of touch losers

      November 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      These guys are the best in the world at putting a ball in a hoop. It makes so much money because people want to see these guys play. What talent does an owner bring to the table? They don't build the stadiums, they make the states do that. People don't want to see them or care about them. But they want the majority of the money.

      If you were the best employee at a company, and you made the stuff that actually made the money...you were the creative talent and the product...and you got paid 1% and the CEO got paid 50%...you wouldn't work for that company. But the NBA is a monopoly, so you can't leave and go to a company that will treat you better.

      But in essence, the NBA is a reflection of America. When there is too much greed in the system, it flat out doesn't work.

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

    nobody cares about the NBA really

    November 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vittoriokiss

      I agree, NFL all the way

      November 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • rep

      ditch 'em all. this country has bigger problems.
      and it's obvious this country places way too much emphasis on sports anyway. let's put this kind of money into math and science for a change.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. L

    Don't they remember what the strike did to baseball? Took years for anyone to give a care. Only very recently, if at all, do people other than die hard fans care about baseball. With so much of the country out of work, the greed of these people is really dispiriting.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vittoriokiss

      I work 10 hrs a day and try to go to school and make min salary. I am glad they out of work. Greedy bunch

      November 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      Yes, the owners are greedy; you're right.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HELLS YEAH

    HELLS YEAH!!! F The NBA!! I'm overjoyed by the decision. Let the heebs who run the show lose some of their precious money.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vittoriokiss

      AGREE

      November 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. IceT

    Let's see who can hold out longer, overpaid & overextended players or owners many of whom have been losing money each season? It's kind of a win win for the owners in this case.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vittoriokiss

    I am glad the season is over, they bunch of greedy players. Like the amount u make is not enough.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sean in AZ

    Goodbye you pampered morons. Just a bunch of overpaid idiots – take a hike. Hope you can get a job pumping gas somewhere. There is plenty of young college guys just dying to take the place of these morons. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vittoriokiss

      Great comment Sean, agree 100%

      November 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. albert tydings

    perfect solution for this intricate problem- make all the out of work basketball players CEOs of companies, let the companies fail, the government using our hard earned tax money will bail them out like the previous morons, and the players can jump in the air every 24 seconds once again- every body wins

    November 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lol

    Good riddens NBA...we place too much value on sports as a society. *finishes throwing pearls at swine and leaves the room, smiling at the hope of a new age where intelligence is valued...but frowning a bit as he realizes the vast number of fools whom place such a high value on such ignorant folly*

    November 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DYBO

    Let these guys sit out a year or two and think about who and what pays their inflated contracts. This would give women's pro basketball a shot in the arm.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Open mind

    Difficult to sympathize with the players on this one; greed is the first thing that comes to mind. Reminds me of the last baseball strike where multi-million dollar players were filing to have their child support payments put on hold during the strike.
    Cap the salaries, if they don't like it then don't play; I am sure that there are options in Europe to play but not for the same salary. Besides, be like golfers and earn your money off the court via endorsments and the like. If golfers don't win they don't get paid; same should go for all pro sports.

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