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. George

    I'm done with professional basketball. Many of my friends feel the same. Let's see how much the players make without fans.

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

      We'll soon see as I am sure the 2 fans the NBA had, are now long gone

      November 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • reb084

      i agree , and if you take away thier basket balls , 80 % of them be completely broke in a year. they need to b happy with what they got

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

    Wow. Dumb. You already make more than you deserve....

    November 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ed Sommers

    NBA athletes are the most talented of all professional athletes. They have NOT gone on strike.
    They have been locked out by their employers. The owners are asking the players to protect the
    owners from themselves...don't let the owners spend too much of their own money. The players are
    right to take steps to protect their own best interests. "Fans" and non-fans of pro basketball, for the most part,
    have no significant stake in this game. I for one, hope they players get justice in court. They were sure not to
    get justice at the bargaining table.

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

      NBA players have no risk either of profit or loss. NBA owners are taking full risk of whether it is profitable or not. If the team loses money for the year, it's the owners losses. Period. They deserve the risk/reward.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Balanced

      D. Jones is correct. The owners have made mistakes – in over estimating revenues and thus, over paying for players. The owners are taking the risk, not the players.

      Personally – I hope the fans turn their backs on the greedy players. Think about it – many of them are getting millions a year to do something they love; something kids dream about in every sport. In essence they're saying, I don't care how much people have to pay to see me play or buy my jersey. I don't care if my company loses money! PAY ME!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      HAHAHAHA! Most talented in the world, what crack are you smoking, run run jump, run run block, run run juump...what a joke to even say that...Look at baseball or hockey players and what they go through...Bye bye NBA no one cares if you ever come back

      November 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Reality

      IMO they are over paid. Slash their pay or just do away with the NBA all together...slash their pay so they quit or they will BEG for their OLD PAY scale back..

      November 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      I hope that you get your wish and when they get "justice" your ticket[prizes or cable fees go up 100%. What a moronic post.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I agree, Ed. While the basketball fan in me is upset about this, the fan of fairness in me was hoping they would do this for a long time. There's a reason we have laws in this country against the type of behavior the owners are engaging in.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • GatorALLin

      ....ED....Just a thought for you....... Next time could the agree to put in a clause to the contract (just like they do for Mediation) that says, they continue to play, but that all profits go into a 3rd Party holding Bank/Account and once they agree not to disagree, then they can cut up the profits. Thus they keep playing and the money keeps roll'n in and maybe even each side gets 40%...then the 20% in the middle still to be cut up can be figured out later. Maybe the 3rd Party in the middle gets 100% to give to charity if they Never agree...so of course they will agree, but at least in this case the money is not destroyed. Just a 2 billion dollar idea...or My2cents

      November 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RichM

    Wow, the bad economy is even starting to impact our poor basketball players.

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

    Nationalize the NBA! How much money could the government put toward our increasing debt in that case? It would be almost patriotic to go see your team play! I don't know anything about the practical implication of such an idea, but in my fantasy world it sounds pretty amazing. I'm all for rewarding success and hard work, but people playing a game don't need to be bringing home millions upon millions of dollars to entertain the bedrock of America.

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

    If you ask me they are all way way overpaid

    November 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robin Bray

    Not really going to miss any of them. To BIg, Should Fail.

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

    Stern asked for it by saying, "Take this or get something worse, take this or get out." The players have a right to actually negotiate with these greedy pigs called owners.

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

    I hope the Players get the screwed in court.....not like the average employee can go on strike and demand more than half of the profits....they're luck to get min wage.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Reality

      I think the article said they want HALF OF THE REVENUES! Not half of the profits. These clowns have no clue how much it costs to run a team. So long NBA!!!!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. heythere2

    Love most sports, but it is ridiculous how much all the players think they "deserve" to be paid, and the owners are just as bad if not worse. Why? Because the public idolozies them and has put them on a pedestal. Sad that something that is supposed to be for fun when you are little, now has become the "thing" for parents to get their kids into so they can cash in on their success. What success?? To prove to everyone you can buy that huge home, expensive car, jewerly, and be a complete jerk to your fans?

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

    Best news I've heard all day.

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

    I can live without the NBA. The last deal was so good to the players that move then 20 of the 30 NBA teams could not break even. That's bad for the economy. Hey players, cone do some real work. I have a few odd jobs for you.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BigAl

    ...and...we don't care, NCAA has started.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • GatorALLin

      .........................................................AMEN..........................well said!

      November 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Natalee

    Teachers,soliders, law enforcement... why don't we figure out a way to pay these people more? Screw the NBA... over-rated and over-paid...

    November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • GatorALLin

      ...we can watch the cops dunk donuts...... yeah... .and teachers dunk our kids grades....and oh you should watch that cool dvd on teachers.. "Waiting for superman".... its really good

      November 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sarah

    While I agree, everyone is greedy and not sympathetic to the common man... Come on CNN readers! Racism really? Let's be better than this.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Well said Sarah..

      November 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
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