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. penney

    I suggest hiring a new team and forgetting the greedy rest of them!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. smokinbluebear

    DONT EVEN MISS 3 HOURS OF BAD FOOD & MOVIE COMMERCIALS BETWEEN 48 MINUTE GAMES...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sassan

    It's the owners who are greedy. The players are already to reduce revenues from 57% to 51% range but the owners are being greedy. They are not their slaves.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reason

      Slaves? What a ridiculous comment.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not really

      Please, I'll gladly be a "paid 7-figures to play sports slave" anytime.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ralph

    Well, looks like they may just have to get real jobs now.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tnn

    This is a free market, if league owners feel they can get better players outside of the current group then go for it. I'm amazed that common people of today stand behind mighty powerfully organization against common interest, what's wrong with fight for your rights and fair share of the pie? Should I just accept whatever is given to me from the organization? Non-compete agreement, salary cap, etc etc, there really isn't anything that a individual can do these days but to listen to the owners with billions of dollars.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leaf on the Wind

    Wealthy team owners: "Wah wah wah! We're rich but we want more!"
    Spoiled overpaid athletes: Wah wah wah! We're rich but we want more!"

    Looks like the WNBA will make some much-needed money this season.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. clis

    Bums!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kiki

    They all should just route on and off a Kardashian sister to keep up with their standard of living. Go Lamar!!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aldo1968

    The bill collectors will be knocking on some mid level players doors really soon.....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. brian in dc

    Good, now I don't have to suffer watching the NBA scores scrolling across the bottom on ESPN for some real sports scores to finally show.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim Crow

    it is about time that this modern day slavery ends. please follow through until these modern day Jim Crows' back is broken. Same for college sports. It is time to get paid!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chaz

    f-tards

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kennykodak

    whoopee...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Respect

    Still laughing at the fact that none of the players who think they are worth this money have seen that nobody has the money to buy their tickets, nor do they want to. People don't want to spend money on this sport, especially the kind of money for these mediocre players. Cancel basketball for good. Boring.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh Davis

      You know what else is boring? Your fake name.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • newshamg

      How do you know they are mediocre? Since the NBA is the pinnacle of basketball they must be the best players – hence they are not mediocre. I guess the NFL players and MLB players are mediocre too?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spendlove

      Amen, just more greedy "athletes"

      November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buckz

      They have to have some fans to buy the tickets....how else do you think that they would get paid that much. I think they should take into consideration whats best for their fans (who pay their salaries), not just their interests alone.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Actually, I think most of them are incredibly great at basketball. But, let's face it. It's just basketball, folks! I wish the whole NBA would just fold! Any event that is too expensive for normal people to take their family to, is too expensive.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GoOwners

    In this economy how can the player be upset.

    The get big income.

    Guaranteed money (not like NFL & MLB)

    Lucrative other income through endorsements and advertising.

    How can an employee be mad at business owner who give long term guaranteed income contracts?

    How is this a bad deal for someone without a college education?????

    November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • hank

      MLB contracts are 100% guaranteed

      November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kimmie K

      IIt is not a bad deal for someone with or without a college degree. Also, about a quarter of the NBA players have college degrees.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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