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 ‚Äúcollective bargaining process has completely broken down,‚ÄĚ 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. Worst Game

    Ethnocentrism destroys the ECONOMY AND NBA. there is "No White Michael Jordan" Too many white players get harassed by black players. Why should black players deserve higher wages than WHITE NBA PLAYERS?

    NBA = SOCIETAL COLLAPSE GAME.

    Blamed by many people. Unfair game playing.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChristopherM25

      what on earth are you talking about? how is this about race? you are pathetic

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

      Your comment doesnt even make sense Worst Game. I don't understand what you are trying to get at here??

      November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jon Valjon

    Football and baseball are the meat and potatoes of the diet. Basketball is like banana cream pie. It's nice, but not essential.

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

      Try selling baseball to kids under 21. Baseball is hardly the relevant game it was 50 years ago.

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

    Pay our troops.....they are willing to die for what they do........thease stupid jerks want to bounce a ball and get paid......for what!!!!!!!!!!! Dont even tell me that you work hard. Work out, Party, get laid, and play ball.......Tuff Life

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

      The equipment the troops use cost billions of dollars. A basketball costs like $10. Idiot.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JOE

    I agree that college basketball is far more exciting but it would be equally exciting if there was a college football playoff system. I say shorten the season by a few games so that the student athletes have appropriate time to take final exams. Then let's use the national bowl games in a playoff system. For example, Sugar Bowl v Orange Bowl and Gator Bowl v Cotton Bowl and the winners meet at the Rose Bowl. Then the bowls alternate annually to host the national championship. That would surely rivel March Madness.

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

      College basketball is dreadful – a bunch of kids who cannot play the game. Look at last years NCAA Final – it was horrendous.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joseph

    Hire replacement players,Millions of people out of work and they want to argue over money.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. HR

    One more example of the greed and corruption that has gripped our society – these thugs who are never satisfied, continue to cry over a few extra dollars – when millions are homeless, starving and out of work it seems rather dumb and stupid for these greedy idiots to keep asking for more and more – I hope they shut them down forever – start fresh and let them see what it is like to be out of work.

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

      Instead of thugs why not use the word beginning with N you would like to use?

      November 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. policedad

    I love how the majority of commenters mainly seize on this to pick on the players. Yes they make a lot of money, but it takes two to tango and it seems like everyone here is forgetting about the greedy owners, who are equally to blame. Odd how the majority of players are black and the majority of owners are white and when those two groups have a conflict that ends the season, you people are so quick to heap blame on the players. Coincidence? Doubt it.

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

      I hate to break it to you, but here goes. Both the black people, AND the white people are greedy. But the owners are the ones that take the financial risk, so they should get the most money. Personally, I think if they shut down the NBA, NFL, AND baseball for a couple of years, we'd all be better off. Then, put serious salary caps in place, so a family could actually go to a game once in a while. Bunch of primidonnas...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    People are starving in the streets, and these whiners are complaining that their salaries aren't astronomical enough. Hopefully there NO season, and fans discover that they can actually survive without basketball!

    November 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GoOwners

    Owners should have a full draft this year with system set up like the NFL.

    You only need 10 players and careers life is very short.

    Will take three years to replace them.

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

    Todays n b a players are not that good. most are aa quality

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

      They are so not good they would take a team from the 50's or 60's and put a 100 point beatdown on them – and I mean a 100 point differential not total score.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Worst Game

    NBA SUCKS!!! HORRIBLE.....

    A CIRCUS CLOWN GAME....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Blessed

    Great job for the players – and it is important that you stand together! The league has an agenda and you guys are thinking as one and that's unity! Just pray and let God take care of your situation! Be blessed!

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

    If I were the owners, I would try to just get a bunch of permanent replacement players at 1/10th the salary. There are thousands of talented players who can fill the shoes without demanding more money to bounce a ball. Give some people out there an opportunity to do better than the mess of babies currently arguing themselves out of work.

    To the players: get a deskjob.

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

      There is a major flaw in your logic. I doubt if any of these self-centered, ego-centric, spoiled rotten players could qualify for a desk job. Most of them made it through school without teachers being ALLOWED to give them poor grades for poor work. After all, they are good at basketball, so what else matters...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. raven

    Ungrateful – overpaid brats. If pro players and owners really cared, they would take cuts and reduce ticket prices. As it is now, it is difficult for people to afford to attend games. They just may price themselves out.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Erin

    Who cares?

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