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. Nat

    Pay for performance baby. Flat salary of $100,000 and anything more is based on performance. Injury? Go get workers compensation based on $100,000. That would be the best thing that the NBA could have happen. And if owners get rich, fine. They were the ones that invested tons they own to get the team.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stinkin latino

    Easy. Owners are greedy, players are greedy, fans are dumb and are jealous of both. Everyone is stubborn and stupid and most people are racist. Face it.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tex71

    I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would watch a [insert favorite sport] game in the first place unless the weather was too bad to go outside and no library within 100 miles. If everyone would stop watching televised sports for a few months, the whole system would go back to normal. Players playing for love of the game and so on, although I still would probably never watch one.

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

      Ditto!!

      November 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rikers

    Seasoned jeopardized? So what! Nobody watches these over paid under achievers except the same people who watch Judge Judy and Jerry Springer.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matthew

    More TV slots for college hoops. Where's the downside here?

    November 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Really?

    This is my favorite part... – 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." –

    So this Stern idiot basically gave the players a, "Take this deal and bend over, or you can bend over with no lube", the players told him to take his deal and shove it, and Stern doesn't feel like it's his fault at all? Stern told the players that they are going to get screwed either way, and then was surprised when the players didn't say, "Please sir, may I have some more?" What a moron.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Retired Floridian

    Who cares? It is only the Filthy Wealthy 1% of multi-millionaires versus owner billionaires and it is all the result of stupid Americans who buy their obscenely priced tickets, paY OUTRAGEOUS PARKING AND FOOD PRICES AT GAMES, AND AND THROW MONEY AT THEM IN TAX SUBSIDIES FOR BUILDING "THEIR" OVERPRICED STADIUMS!

    November 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. john smith

    It's a lockout, not a strike.

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

      Lockout,lockup,lockdown.All words these guys should be used to.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PTC Bernie

    Arrogant, overpaid, useless wastes of humanity. Let them work at the local Home Depot or WalMart and then see how they feel about the salaries they make "PLAYING" ball. It's a game! You're not worth that kind of money. When are we going to wise up and stop treating these criminals like they're something special?

    November 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. oh boo hoo

    I wonder how fast I would be walked out the door or laughed at if I went to work tommarrow and told my boss I was not doing one more thing until I was paid a lot more money.....

    If I remember correctly the word "contract" comes with each player that plays.... Hmmm, seems to me that the players agree to what they are making right? They could always hold out for a better deal. If the deal never comes then guess what, I bet McD's is hiring.

    Won't miss the NBA, college is better since the guys play hard because they don't have a contract yet.

    November 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GatorALLin

    ......................EPIC FAIL.....................................................NufSaid

    November 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. H.D. Garrison

    Wow! What an opportunity. Some fine entrepreneurs should form a "LHBA" Limited Heighth Basketball Association. No players could participate if thy were taller than some restriciton (maybe 74 inches or less). The association might even claim non-profit status and avoid taxes. Who knows what great dreams lurks in the heart of a true basket ball fan. Possibly the association could giver tickets at a discount for "X" number of hours of physical exercise. This might improve the health of our nation. As you might guess I have little concdern or respect for many owners and a lot of professional players. GREED RULES!

    November 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bryan

    Boo f-ing hoo NBA players. You're already grossly overpaid, no sympathy from me for the multi-millionaires who want more and more.

    November 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jakob Dirley

    Put the owners in shorts and tanktops, and let THEM play basketball.
    See how their ticket sales do.

    November 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bgriff

    All the benefits, but none of the riskis exactly what they want. Ther are quite a few players out there that make more than what some of the teams made last year. The main players that control union aren't even thinking about the majority of players that don't make the huge $s. If it wasn't for the NBA, most og these guys would have nothing. Listen to some of the interviews, no language skills at all, or any off the court skills for thqat matter. And haven't even mentioned the huge endorement bucks. A bunch of greedy spoiled punks!

    November 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67