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. waverammer

    hahaha, who cares? The NBA is a bad product with overpaid employees.

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

    I'm sick and tired of all these owner/player battles in sports. Only reason they are making money is because of the fans. If fans don't watch or buy tickets no one makes money. Only won that suffers is the FAN because they don't get to enjoy the game. The FANs are getting slapped in the face. The owners are millionaires and so are the players and are whining about more money. This is like the owner of a grocery store arguing with the employees so the close the store down to dispute. The customer is the only one that suffers.

    As Fans we should boycott the leagues even if they come back and show the players and owners who really is in control. They are not thinking of the Fans, they are only thinking about their pockets. Why should a FAN care about them?

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

    I am disappointed – you guys are taking the NBA to the "South Beach!"

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

    Now that college hoops have started, who needs the 'pros'? Stay out forever. You didn't take the regular season seriously anyway and the play-offs were too flippin' long. No one will miss the tantrums and news about what coach/player relationship is on the rocks. 24 hour sports moves on without you. Football, hockey, Rugby, College hoops (which are frankly more interesting because some college teams play for the fun of the game), and baseball Spring Training is 3 months away.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Josh

    These players make an average of $5 million per year. The owners offered them a deal that would result in an average salary of $7.7 million per year in 2021. This is a GUARANTEED pay increase of 4.4% a year, and they're already making an average of $5 million per year. The owners own the teams, they have a right to expect to make a profit from the $300 million plus each of them have invested. The players are making an absolute killing – please forgive me if I think these selfish pieces of sh!t deserve no pity for getting to play a game and live a lifestyle that 99.99% of us would give our left nut to have.

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

      Look, clearly $7 million per year is not enough and the owners who take all of the risk deserve nothing. In the meantime, the fans who pay the way are worthless idiots so who cares about their $60k per year lives.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bbstacker7072

    I think it's great. These players are a bunch of thugs with no sense of sportsmanship as a whole. Of course, that's not everyone, but it surely seems to be the majority. I don't feel a thing for them or the owners. Let them swagger back to their million dollar+ homes and watch tv...until they've blown all of their money...shouldn't take long.

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

      Well put....

      November 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Buzz Mann

    Remember back in high school when they played for girls and glory and just because they loved to play.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NUGGETSFAN

    I loved the NBA, very exciting game besides the refs that were being paid off to call games towards certain teams. But this is ridiculous. Really players? How about you make what the average american makes for a couple years, jobs that take intelligence, not pure physical talent, jobs that actually help the world and the future. I agree that some of the stuff the owners are saying is BS but they are running a business. Most of them succeeded in a way where they made enough money to buy a professional sports team so maybe they know what they are talking about. If the NBA comes back I might watch it again but I will not pay for a ticket for a while.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. IHopper

    I hope the season is FLUSHED! I hate all the homey B.S. slappin', fivin', dunkin' showin' B.S. I hope they all go to work for a living at McD's.!!!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gung Ho

    Great! Now all the good cable channels like TNT and TBS can show movies this winter. Don't worry about the players. Some players are already playing in Europe and other places. And they can make get by on the millions they have. You will see stories about some later in the year barly getting by. Welcome to the real world dudes!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JJLamb

    That's fine with me. Just make College Ball the end of it. It's better to watch anyway. No pro-ball required. We don't need more millionaires whining about not making millions more.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Noren

    I love college basketball and now I love it even more. Go away NBA. Get real jobs.

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

      ......I have to give you an an AMEN on that one........ for the love of the sport and the love of the team (not the love of the big check).

      November 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I agree 100% Bo Blue!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. IceT

    NBA games haven't even been entertainment for years .. go to the Y & watch some of the leagues there or stop by a pick up game if you want good sports. The real entertainment here is the event of going to the game .. all of the things going on off the court & in the stands. Getting together with friends, food & drinks, rooting for a team, friendly rivalry ... that's what is truly entertaining about pro sporting events. The owners need to see this & the players need to realize it's not them we're there to see, it's the event.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GatorALLin

    ....so can they figure out a way to still play, but decide LATER on how to split up the money. Thus if they go on strike again (or what ever you pretend to call it), then at least the money they make is not destroyed in the process. Only a groups holds the money and you can figure out the split later!! Seems like everyone loses when they do it Any other way. Just saying...that is my2BillionDollars vs. just my 2cents on this one...

    November 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Indiana Joe

    Good. Who needs it. I do feel sorry for the common guys who earn their livings from working the games, but then why should this overpaid bunch of prima donnas care about anyone else.

    Jerks, all of them.

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