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. alex

    From an african-american with two black parents who are both doctors, this is extremely offensive. It is people like you who waste the air we breathe.

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

      @ alex
      Chill out, ignore the racisist like the loser with the lamp-shade on his head at a party, and get on with what's really important. Being offended by a losers remarks makes you look weak.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James

    Just listen to the players when they give interviews. It's a miracle any of them went to college. Why should the players make more than the owners? Flush the season...

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

    THe players can always go form their own league. No one stops them. This should be a lesson in what government and most businesses will look like once obama and company forces local and state governments, business and federal government to unionize.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buzz Mann

      Just how you can interject Obama in a discussion about overpaid basketball players is just beyond me.

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

      Oh good grief Dalton... I wondered how long it would be before one of you Tbaggin Republiecos would find a way to blame Obama for this groups lack of responsibility. I guess your to stupid to figure out that it has nothing to do with the President. It only has to do with a bunch of very selfish MEN who are paid to much anyway.. Yes both the players ane the owners. Selfish crybabies...

      November 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mervyn

    Tissue?

    November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. parkcitybrian

    greedy owners & spoiled players = stick a fork in this boy...cuz im done with pro basketball.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    I just find this "mind-blowing" to say the least! I work for GM, and this would be like me asking for a 50/50 split of the profit or I'll strike and sue....This is just another example of how people can be born with a skill to jump, but lack the brains to function...

    November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jerry

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ its all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ there not getting enough $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ GREED GREED ITS ALL ABOUT $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Plexie

    Oh alexi, you are offended, yet if I look at the blacks in America they validate my statement. Deal with it, go complain to jessie or sharpon.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Plexie

    Black doctors as a result of Affirmative Action are dangerous to the clients health.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. God

    if you are so mad at the players stop watching it, buying their gear, shoes and tickets to games.

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

      How do you know he does? All you have to do is read an article, or watch the news. Or for that matter, listen to people go on about it. If you were God (Obnoxious moniker by the way) you'd know that.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nat

    Its about time the NBA came crashing down. Games are boring and too many and it amazes me that the player consider being millionaires just too little. I hope the NBA get a chance to see that pretty much no one cares about them except truly diehard fans.

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

      Even the diehard fans are realizing how much they mean to the players(playas).

      November 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Factors

      Good! I could not possibly care less! Bunch of self-serving, millionaire idiots!
      By the way – DON"T COME BACK!!

      November 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rand

    Time to get OCW over there to protest..................WHAT will the men in America DO without basketball this winterrrrr?? Maybe get off their lazy cans and go to the GYM???

    November 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Juggalo 6

    Oh, No!!!! Poor Lebron James. Do you people see what the league is doing? His poor puppy won't get his diamond studded doggy collar and gold lined, air conditioned dog house that is only 5 times bigger than average people's regular homes! The Horror!!! Come on people get real!!!! These guys get a free ride through college, then get ENORMOUS piles of money and they want MORE!!! The average american is struggling to make 10,000 dollars a year and these guys want 10,000,000 dollars. The players make me sick!!! The owners have to make money to pay these idiots but they can't live without their Maybachs and Ferrari s. Screw the players, bring on the replacements, and let's see how guys that want to play and aren't there just for the money play!!!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Huckle55

    GREED + GREED = 0
    A cancelled season and really mad fans which will be difficult to get back. So unfortunate.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris Maurice

    Get a job at McDonald's and ask for a fifty-fifty revenue split. Some nerve of these less than capable ball handlers.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
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