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. Duane

    Maybe it is time for the NBA to be no more

    November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. legman

    Definition: NBA

    The place where people who graduate college and STILL speak and write like a 4 year old go, to get 10 million a year playing a boring game that no intelligent individual could care less about.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh Davis

      Legman

      Definition: Someone who is too much of a wimp to put his real name on a comment that stinks.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • BldrRepublican

      "couldn't care less".

      "could care less" means you still care a little about it.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Walter

    The collective silence from most people should speak volumes to the players – they couldn't care less whether there is an NBA or not.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebronisawussbag

      Josh Davis is a fart in a mitten!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike Reed

    Just get rid of the league.

    David Stern is an arrogant ass. And the owners and players are both selfish and greedy. Who cares about a league where the players don't actually start putting in effort until the playoffs and catching a game with your family will cost you $500?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebronisawussbag

      Josh Davis dreams of smearing Miracle Whip on David Stern!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eric

    The NBA players' union is killing basketball-related jobs. Quick, blame the liberals for killing these jobs!

    /sarcasm

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. yep

    In a related story, who cares?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. db

    Cancel the full season, in fact cancel basketball as it is no longer a game but a show. No one will miss any of it, just like in Baseball.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bigfoot

    Was this about:
    1. millionaire players wanting more millions?
    2. millionaire owners wanting more millions?
    3. both millionarie players and owners not agreeing how to squeeze more millions from their fans?

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stug

    Good riddance.
    I hope the players read these comments and understand that we are sick & tired of overpaid whiners crying that they need a few million more dollars to pay for their toys & Mc-mansions.

    I say fire them all and counter-sue THEM for breach of contract.
    Maybe they will learn that they make enough once they try to find a real job.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WHat

    Good thing I hate basketball. Without management, the skills most of these guys have would land them a job at McDonald's. Instead they're getting millions to put a ball through a circle. Just be happy with what you've got when what you've got is a lot. Now they get nothing.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sestan50

    Grown men crying over who gets more money, they are getting overpaid to play a kids sport. NO NBA good. Lets put this in another way what would happen if our great military did this which we all know they can't, but what if they could and the military decided not to accept there bosses decision and not fight where would we be. The military puts there lifes on the line everyday for these buttheads to do this. Again GREAT NO NBA, now lets see if the fans go on strike and not watch another game, there goes there income again.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    The players can still go to Europe and play.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sestan50

      Jim I agree let them go to Europe and play and they can stay their as well.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Yup

    I really hope the NBA folds.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    YAY! No basketball....best news all day:)

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIke J.

      Agreed...won't miss it a bit.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • k

      Over paid spoiled children.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh Davis

      Just because the NBA is on lockout doesn't mean no basketball. It means no NBA for now but there will always be basketball.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Emmy Skaddittle

    yes disband the union, the owners are toasting champaign to your decision

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebronisawussbag

      Josh Davis destroyed basketball! He likes Curling!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
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