NBA AM: Players Merge Lawsuits Against NBA
The ongoing lockout continues to wage on without a hint of compromise from either side since November 10, when talks initially broke down between the then players association and NBA.
Last week the lack of progress in negotiation talks led NBA players to file two separate antitrust lawsuits in federal court against the NBA in California and Minnesota.
According to players’ lead attorney David Boies, who represented the National Football League in their labor dispute earlier this year, the current NBA lockout violates antitrust laws by refusing to allow players to return to work.
On Monday Boies and his legal team announced his clients had decided to merge the two lawsuits into one complete filing, withdrawing the lawsuit in California but merging it with the pending complaint in Minnesota.
It is clear Boies believes that the merging of lawsuits will keep the judicial progress operating at a brisk pace and serves to expedite the litigation process and potentially save the 2012 season.
The first hearing in California wasn’t slated to take place until March 2012.
“If we had not done this, at some point the courts would have done this,” Boies said. “If we’d waited, it would have taken 6, 8, 12 weeks. This solves that issue now and allows us to move forward.”
Boies went on to further clear the motives behind the legal move “things could move faster in Minnesota,’’ and also added “the docket is less congested there.’’
Since talks broke down between both parties nearly two weeks ago the league office has been remarkably quiet regarding their next move since the legal system was introduced into the equation.
The NBA has until December 5 to address the lawsuit filed by the players.
While Boies was addressing the media on Monday, Rick Buchanan, the league’s general counsel, released a statement implying the players’ latest move was fueled by trying to find a court more sympathetic to their cause.
“This is consistent with Mr. Boies’s inappropriate shopping for a forum that he can only hope will be friendlier to his baseless legal claims,” Buchanan said in the statement.
Boies’s called the league’s statement “ridiculous.”
Despite the pending litigation, settlement talks for each side to resolve the lockout stalemate can begin at anytime.
However Boies feels the league should be the first party to reach out and extend the arm of good faith bargaining.
“The reason [I haven’t called] is because of that statement, saying it’s baseless and ought to go away,’’ Boies said. “It’s a waste of time to make a telephone call. If we thought there was any chance of them being reasonable, we would pursue that. It takes two to negotiate. This is the kind of case that people ought to try to resolve. It’s hard to negotiate against an ultimatum. I’d call right now if I had a number to call. They’ll eventually come to the realization litigation is not the best way to resolve disputes. Most litigation should be settled.’’
The players previously conceded valuable percentage points on basketball related income (BRI) agreeing to a 50-50 revenue split with owners. That concession represented a transfer of $3 billion to ownership over a ten year CBA.
The players’ previous BRI share was 57 percent.
The BRI divide has been settled.
The current lockout stalemate is being driven primarily by system issues which involve player movement. Topics such as contract lengths, mid-level exceptions, sign-and-trade clauses and punitive costs for luxury tax paying teams are all topics the two parties can’t come to a universal agreement.
Regular season games through December 15 have been cancelled by the league.
Each month the players miss will cost them roughly $350 million in salaries.
Jordan Williams Signs In Poland: With the NBA gearing up for what could be an extended court battle, not of the hardwood kind; players are beginning to eye professional overseas opportunities a lot more seriously these days.
According to the New York Daily News, Jordan Williams, the New Jersey Nets’ second-round pick of the 2011 draft has signed with a team in Poland.
The former University of Maryland standout and No. 36 overall pick became the sixth Net to migrate overseas this offseason.
All-Star point guard and team building block Deron Williams is torching Turkish League foes at a 20-plus point per game clip. While, Jordan Farmar (Israel), Dan Gadzuric (China) and Sasha Vujacic (Turkey) are also competing internationally during the lockout.
Eight Set To Enter College Hoops Hall of Fame: Former NBA All-Stars James Worthy, Chris Mullin and Ralph Sampson are part of an eight member cast set to be inducted into the National Collegiate Hall of Fame on Sunday night.
Legendary college coaches Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton also got the monumental nods to go along with former Michigan standout Cazzie Russell, television contributor Eddie Einhorn and Joe Vancisin the longtime executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
“We’re extremely honored, but I for one am honored because of the men that came before me, when I look at Cazzie and Joe and Coach Sutton,” Worthy said. “Those are the types of people that laid the path for us youngsters to come and do what we’ve been able to do. The success that we’ve had, the people have made it possible for us. I appreciate being appreciated and it’s an honor to be inducted with all of you.”
NBA Chats:There are two NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s senior writer Eric Pincus at 4pm EST. Eric’s chats are a hot ticket so getting in early is always wise. I will be hosting my weekly hoops chat tonight at 8pm EST. Submit your questions here. Anything basketball related is up for discussion. You can always find the next NBA Chat here and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here