Five NBA agents mulling decertification push
Five of the NBA’s most powerful agents could try to make a move to decertify the NBA Players Association, ESPN.com reported.
The report said agents Arn Tellem, Bill Duffy, Mark Bartelstein, Jeff Schwartz, and Dan Fegan – who combined represent about 30 percent of the NBA’s players – held a conference call Monday to discuss the process of decertification that could end the lockout.
According to the report, the agents have discussed their idea with union chief Billy Hunter, who would rather not use decertification at this point in negotiations but also has not ruled it out.
Earlier this summer, the union filed a lawsuit with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the NBA of not bargaining in good faith. Hunter prefers that route, and a ruling is expected in the next several weeks.
The report said 30 percent of the union must sign a petition in order to hold a decertification vote in which all members would have a ballot. During the 1995 lockout – which was resolved without the loss of any games – a decertification vote was held but lost by a 226-134 count.
If the union decertifies, the plan of action would follow the NFL’s work stoppage earlier this year. A group of players would file an antitrust lawsuit, hoping to force the NBA back to the bargaining table in fear of a high court ruling against their antitrust protections.
After two long, productive meetings last week between representatives of owners and players, a similar meeting Tuesday was seen as a step backward by both sides and has put the start of the season in jeopardy.
Training camps are scheduled to open Oct. 3 with the regular season beginning Nov. 1.
When NBA players were last locked out in 1998, cancellations didn’t begin until Sept. 24.