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. r00t4rd3d

    Bunch of over paid cry babies that want more money.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cj n Cut n Shoot, TX

    I have made a lot of foolish decisions with money in my 62 years – but one of them is not on a ticket to a B-ball game. I resent this spoiled brats and all their bling. Monkeys slapping a ball down the court and swinging from the rim. Might as well go to the Zoo for free.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      No they want the *fair* share. They (owners vs. players) just can't agree on what that is.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. S

    Why aren't more people bashing the owners? Seems to me that the players are the ones that have given up everything from their prior contract and the owners have not concided one point. In a good faith negotiation both sides give and take. All the owners have done is take. At least the NFL owners gave the players no 2 a day practices, shorter pre-season etc.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Plexie

    I hope that the strike ends soon and the players get millions more for jumping around with a ball, if not cancer won't be cured, Iran will get nukes and attack Israel, Global warming will destroy humanity; oops, if not, life will go on and they can go work at Walmart. Yawn.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nate

    Excellent! Now I can watch hockey until baseball comes back on!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Buzz Mann

    LET THEM EAT CAKE. Greedy pos.Guess it isn't enough that a lot of them got special treatment in high school an college.Maybe that is why they think they should make more than a doctor.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. studdmuffins

    Good, more informercials.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. I hate basketball.

    Here is a thought; start a new basketball franchise. The fans follow the players not the logo.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Really???

    Allllright way ta go n888888!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. r00t4rd3d

    Good riddance to the NBA. Chasing a rubber ball around and they expect to be paid millions of dollars per game.

    I shoot the ball in the basket, million bucks please.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Donnybp

    It's puzzling to wonder that these peale are arguing about money!! If I read commissioner sterns words right, a bench player, entry level would be making 2 million dollars. Dam!! I break my ass making an honest living, raising a family for a fraction of that. What are these greedy folk butting heads about??? The real victims are the fans, not the wealthy owners and players. The fans are the ones that will have to look st the events and how they've unfolded and ask themselves, why exactly isn't there a season?? Because of money! Maybe those fans will grab ball in hand and go play basketball instead of waste their time and money watching!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. B

    As much as I love the game of basketball, I really don't care if the NBA folds. The benefit of sports is in playing, getting some exercise, making friends, learning teamwork, sportsmanship, etc. It's not sitting on your a$$ in a stadium or in front of the TV swilling beers and noshing on high-calorie, salt and fat laden food. All those over-paid pituitary freaks can go to He!! for all I, and I suspect a lot of others, care.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ed

    When people step back and realize what is going on here, they will realize one very simple thing. You have a bunch of overpaid, self-glorifying prima donas who want more than 50% of the profits that an NBA franchise owner reaps in. They are basketball players, and could have had the average (AVERAGE) annual salary be $8+ million – and this is for 82 games – IF they each play 82 games. That equates to just under $100,000 per game!!! That's more than $2,000 per MINUTE of playing time! These basketball players think $2,000 per minute of playing time isn't fair??? Let's put this in perspective. Let's say I work at McDonald's. I get a union together of all the other employees and we demand 50% of the profits of the McDonald's franchise. BUT, we certainly won't agree to take a pay cut to offset any shortfalls. We are EMPLOYEES – and in the case of NBA players – HIGHLY paid.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    Sorry, but where is the race card exactly?

    November 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike in SA

    A bunch of spoiled millionaires complaining about their already big piece of the pie...amazing.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
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