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. mcmasehere

    No one ever said in order to be an NBA Player you had to be smart. In fact, this just removed all doubt. STUPID MOVE.
    Just plain stupid. If they are this greedy and stupid, let them go overseas. More than half of them will be spending time in jail in less than 4 months. Wait and see. Money is not everything as they will have to find out for themselves.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. K3Citizen

    Now the fans can watch the NCAA games where coaches and schools get millions while the players only get cars and girls.

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

    For every game that these men do not play, they become that much closer to going beyond their prime. As they reject each offer, they leave behind fans who shake their heads that the players make more in half a season then they will make in a lifetime. There is something distasteful about men rejecting multi-million dollar yearly contracts because they want yet more money. Let them disband their union and return to jobs at Arbies and Lowes like the rest of us.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gary Andersen, Northridge, CA 91325

    The owners and the players can keep their game. Who needs them, really. WIth football and hockey on the same schedule they really should have no support from the fans. This is all about greed from both sides but especially the players. In todays ecomomic climate how can they expect the fans to side with them when they are putting thousands of people out of work. The vendors, the people who work at the arena's, the support business's and so on. When do they think of the whole picture and not just themselves. Greed never does.

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

    Too bad. One word = GREED. The players, the owners, all of 'em...

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

    I suggest they get use to their $20 million a year and stop pouting.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • lancelot

      and theyre not even worth the 20 mill. how much do we pay our school teachers again? shame on us fans for supporting this mess

      November 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • kenpstok101

      Sounds fair, if they don't like it tell them to join the occupy wall street movement since they're being treated so unfair

      November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bigred

      The average 99%er makes $1,000,000 over a lifetime. It is hard to feel sorry for a strutting pouting man who plays a game for a living and makes $20,000,000 in a year.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • trixxy

      my friend's step-mother makes $78 every hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for 6 months but last month her check was $7814 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read this web site CashHard.com

      November 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ComSenseWiz

      The owners and players are hacking it out over money the lemming fans continue to pay the bling boys and trust baby owners. Not one cent has come out of my pocket in any way, shape or form since the Warriors won the championship and we know how long that has been.

      Whether or not they play another NBA game is irrelevant to me. Lots of sports fish in the sea to enjoy besides pro basketball so I'll follow college hoops and all other sports without missing bling hoops for one second.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Maxwell Mann

    I care if there is an NBA season. The economic activity generated by NBA games are substantial, and our country needs it. Those who demonize the players fail to recognize that the NBA business model is performance-based, and the players are THE ACTUAL PRODUCT.

    Unlike the typical employer/union arrangement, the equityshare framework must be viewed through an entirely different lens. The supply chain dynamic involves those who control the product (players) setting a fair and reasonable price that still allows the investors (owners) to gain an attractive return on investment. To reduce the players to a bunch of uneducated jocks who should just take what they can get is ridiculous. Many of these players are college educated and all of them risk their health in the game, and don't enjoy the financial rebound position that owners have. They MUST think about wealth creation in this lucrative business when negotiating pay.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      How does our country need the NBA?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • kenpstok101

      so the nacho vendor and nba star are hand in hand???? quit that crap!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • manhandler

      Oh Boo Hoo..Let's cut all the bee ess and just tell it like it is. A bunch of greedy overpaid prima donnas who don't give a rats azz about anyone else but theie poor little selves. Thousands of regular people depend on thiese pathetic clowns for their jobs . What are they gonna support their families with? I'll never watch a "Nothin But Azh....s" game again.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lilbitga

      "the previous season was not profitable for most of the league's 30 owners". Sounds to me like the players need to rethink their position. No sympathy for them personally.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • flfx

      Plexie, while the country won't go to hell without the nba, there are sure lots of jobs being lost without them. The stadiums employ lots of people in the food service industry so them not playing has already cost jobs. Look...I'm not defending the cry baby millionaires, just the people that do make a living daily when games are played.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      The employees of the arenas depend on the NBA–the "little" people making minimum wage that work security, concessions, ticketing, merchandise, etc. They are the people suffering.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Maxwell

      The NBA Player are so out of touch with reality.... Your trickle down theory doesn't cut it when the average working man or woman can't afford to take their kids to a game... I am sure if Players/Owners do reach an agrement, there will be another round of ticket price increases to cover it....

      Bottom line... The average American is making less than $50k per year.... The President of the US makes less than $400k per year.... The average WEEKLY salary of an NBA Player is $92,000 or over 4.5 million per year. This inofrmation was provided by FOX News. Also according to FOX News the NBA players receive the HIGHEST SALARIES IN ALL WORLD SPORTS! How can they justify this?

      I think that the NBA needs to rethink it's position, fire every one of its players and initiate a nationwide try out.

      Starting Salary $100k plus medical and retirement benifits... I bet there would be a million athletes who would so up with more heart than the entire NBA has at this point.

      BOYCOTT THE NBA PLAYERS AND OWNERS!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • WhoCares

      P-u-l-e-a-s-e! Like most things in these great United States, professional sports is a nice to have, not a need to have. Let's try an experiment. No pro baseball for two years, then survey to see if anyone misses it. Sure good people work in the customer service, tickets, vendors, etc. Sorry for these real workers. Too bad the beer and food vendors couldn't share in profits. They work.

      The business of basketball is all built on big kids playing a game in front of people/corporations, the only ones that can afford to watch, who can't play.

      Go to a college or local high school game if you actually like the sport. See if they will employ food and drink vendors. Stop giving the money to millionaires and billionaires.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      While there are people at the bottom of the income scale that rely on the NBA for jobs, neither the NBA nor the players care about them. There are also debt service issues for certain stupid cities that underwrote to a degree the stadiums. Regardless, in the big picture the NBA is useless and not needed. Find these people real jobs in the disappearing manufacturing industry in the US and goodbye to the worthless NBA.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike in SA

    Will never watch basketball again...period. All of them, players & owners, can stuff it.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • lancelot

      amen mike

      November 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Christopher

    Past time that the NBA players (who the NBA would be nothing without) started pushing back. Actually, ALL workers in the United States should start doing that.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James PDX

    If it's true that the majority of owners lost money last season, how can the players in good faith insist the AVERAGE player get a 40% raise from 5 million to 7 million? Heck, I'll play a sport I DON'T like for a heck of a lot less than 5 million. I'd even do my OWN crappy job for a lot less than 5 million. Oh, wait, I already do. And then I have to spend huge chunks of it just to get a couple of tickets to watch these guys get paid millions just to play a fun game. Decertify this, you selfish, unworthy jerks!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      Your first sentence "If it is true..." is the problem. It's not true. Like most of corporate America, the NBA teams make big profits and use accounting gimmicks to report paper losses. I don't blame them, since they are just playing by the rules given to them, but I do blame them for turning around and acting like they are in the poorhouse and need the players to give back their paychecks just to keep the lights on. It's ridiculous. The NBA claims that more than 20 teams lost money, when in reality there are only a few who are actually in financial straits. The rest of the league is in a very strong position financially, and just using the current recession as a chance to beat up on the players and take a bigger share of the revenue.

      All you need to know is this: The players aren't on strike. The OWNERS locked out the players. That's the single most important fact of this whole thing.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. alcspi

    Time for the ball players to go play in the sand lot and get A REAL JOB!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. J

    This bites. The playoffs were amazing last year, and now we get zilch?

    November 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bigred

    Hopefully their excessive spending and hyper expensive lifestyles will end in bankruptcy for each one of them. Then they can go out like the rest of us and compete for $50,000 per year jobs. Let them understand what real exploitation is all about.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lancelot

    Hey these turkeys and use this money to give jobs to real americans – not these spoiled children who are already overpaid. their only contribution to society is to be someone's baby mama's daddy! Do you know who your children are? and in what city, Mr Kobe! leave the white chicks alone

    November 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve Peterson

    Oh heaven forbid we dont have an NBA season OH NO! LOL Could not care about the agruement between millionaire and billionaires. They players are nothing but over paid cry babies. Havent watched or been to a game since the strike before last and glad I dont. I rather watch high school basketball where they still play for the love of the game. I would say that about college ball but we all know thats been a corrupted system for a long time now. No love lost with the loss of Pro Basketball good riddance to bad rubbage. Hope it never makes it back and files bankruptcy never to return then all these cry babies will have to get a real job that none of them are smart enough to qualify for employment.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
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