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. Clay-Benet Ramsey

    This is 100% David Stern's fault The owners should reconsider their leadership.

    Have fun paying those arena fees with no income.

    November 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darrell

      Arena fees will be paid through other venues taken place while players sit at home. Also the owners get to write off any loses they encounter. Since the players don't get paid I think their salary will pay for a good sum of the loses.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Uncdig

    Somewhere a village is missing it's idiot

    November 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. el americano

    Teachers who have an important role in life and that actually went to school to study get ridiculous wages. Or many people with degrees are unemployed or just the common citizen is looking for any job.people losing their homes and struggling to have food on their table. And the minimum salary in the NBA is 2mill? Most of these millionaire athletes made it to college only because their physical abilities not because of smarts. I'm glad I'm hanging on to my job and trust me I'm not making millions but I'm glad I have one. Stop being greedy people...

    November 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Darrell

    Obvious players have forgotten where they came from and want it all. Question why bite the hand that feeds you? Without the owners owning the teams you make noting not-a , meaning not a cent. Humble yourselves and be greatful you have a job and getting more than minimum wage. Without the fans support you are nothing because then you make nothing. Selfish act on both sides. I think the fans should send a message and stop supporting and you find out what matters most. Everyone is hurting for cash but if we work together and quit asking for more, more, more then maybe we all can get somewhere. Some of us would just be glad to make the minimum of what NBA players make.

    November 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tacjam4

    Who cares...no one watches basketball anyway! You don't see Monday Night Basketball! Seattle isn't missing to much, sure it was sad for a week...now it's great for the residence in the area!

    November 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bigwilliestyles

    The days of the 'dumb jock' NBA player are over. They do the work, they should get the MAJORITY of the revenue. If not, let the owners suit up; let's see how much revenue that brings in. The players should start their own league; nothing illegal about that. They can utilize smaller venues until they can rent the empty arenas that will become surplus eventually.

    November 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ThePowerfulAlwaysTryToBully

    Yes the players are overpaid for what they contribute to society. But the real culprits here are the owners that are trying to force the hand of the players. If they are loosing all that money, why don't they sell the team? I imagine that there are a lot of suitors to buy any team that decides to sell. They are saying they are losing money, but it is all respective to their accounting tricks. This was just a game of hard-ball that the owners that blew up on their face and they now try to blame the players. The players made concessions but the owners pressed hard. It is in the end, the owners fault.

    November 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bigwilliestyles

    Don't sleep on the intelligence of the players; they are traveling from city to city now performing for packed crowds. It is the OWNERS who will find themselves NOT NEEDED; they're just trying to run a hard BLUFF. I say: call their bluff. The players may make less overall revenue, but they won't have to split it with a bunch of OLD MEN who don't contribute ANYTHING to the sport.

    November 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Portland tony

    Well there's all ways "WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR "

    November 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    This So called NBA players think that they need to get paid more than the owner.wow ...

    November 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Looks like the NBA needs a pay reduction.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ashamed canadian

    Who cares about basketball? Hockey is such a better sport, hands down. Hockey is faster, harder and way more entertaining.

    Pro hockey moves at about 20mph, shots are upwards of 100mph, and is way more global than basketball. People looking for their sports fix should really move to hockey.

    November 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • zeke

      Go HABS!!!!!

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

      I agree. Way more entertaining!

      November 14, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Topgun

    Just disband the NBA. Retarded sport where height is more important than skill. If I was 7'1" i could play in the NBA to. Kids should not be idolizing these fools. They should be looking up to real men and real athletics. Most of the players will be on welfare in 5 years anyway.

    November 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cassidy

      There's no way that you could say that if you saw the epic showdown that transpired in last year's final! The only conclusion that can be drawn is that you're talking about a sport that you know very little about.

      November 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who cares....really.

      Amen to that...basketball is a ridiculous sport.

      November 14, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      It isn't what it use to be, that's for sure.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      I always feel the urge to laugh when reading the words "epic showdown" when used in conjunction with a sports story.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. THE 99%

    Give me one million and ill b on the court tonight!!!!!!!

    November 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • GatorALLin

      .......You would have to pay us to watch that.............and more than a million...

      November 14, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Plenty of players that would play for less than a quarter of what these guys are demanding...

      November 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      They are committing extortion.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nba boring

    Why should anyone pay these players 5 MM / yr when they dont even play hard until the playoffs. NCAA is much more exciting and effort is there.

    November 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      The season is WAY TOO LONG anyway. It is very boring.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. yummers

    Its junk like this thats tearing our country apart. Pro-athletes get payed waay too much. Its that simple.

    November 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      These players get paid so much because the american people allow it. They pay the crazy prices for tickets and concessions... $8 beer, your a moron if you pay that.

      November 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      True. Who would chose to go to an event where you can't take your own food from outside the venue? I don't because it's extortion and entrapment too.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
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