NBA players reject owners’ latest contract offer

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During a meeting Monday in New York with representatives from all 30 teams and star players such as Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, the National Basketball Players Assn. rejected NBA owners’ latest contract proposal, saying they felt the ‘collective bargaining process has completely broken down’ and serving a ‘disclaimer of interest’ to NBA Commissioner David Stern and the owners.

That means the players union has dissolved itself voluntarily, putting the 2011-12 season in jeopardy.

The union -- now a former union that will become a trade association -- has also hired famed attorney David Boies to help file an antitrust suit against the NBA.


‘The players feel that they’re not prepared to accept the ultimatums,’ union executive director Billy Hunter said during a news conference shown on NBA TV. ‘They thought that it was extremely unfair on the part of the NBA ownership, management, to give them an ultimatum that they had to accept their proposal or confront a rollback of 47%.’

Stern had threatened the players with receiving just 47% of the basketball-related income (BRI) if they didn’t accept the deal the owners offered late last week.

The NBA had offered the players a 50-50 split of BRI, down from the 57% the players had in the last collective bargaining agreement, which expired June 30.

The players had indicated that they were willing to accept the even split, but had issues with many of the ‘system’ issues the owners were demanding.

The players have been locked out 138 days.

‘We want to make it clear to our fans, although we chose this today, we have not chosen to be in this position,’ said Derek Fisher, the Lakes guard who is union president.

[Updated, 12:46 p.m. Nov. 14: Stern issued a statement in which he said the NBA was in “anticipation” of the union taking its current position, and that’s why the league filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board of an unfair labor practice, asserting that the players were not bargaining in “good faith.”

Stern maintains that the NBA has bargained in “good faith.”

“There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement, but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy,” Stern said in the statement.]


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-- Broderick Turner