MINNEAPOLIS — The players of the NBA are taking steps that they feel will end this nasty 138 day lockout and restore basketball to the masses. That step is a nasty one, as it involves filing an anti-trust lawsuit that will end peaceful negotiations between the two sides involved and take it to the Federal Courts.
The players announced today that they have filed suit against the NBA for breach of contract and all the other nasty stuff involved with the lockout.
The first suit has been filed in Minneapolis, the same place the NFL went to during their lockout to fight it out. Another suit is expected to be filed in California.
Plaintiffs in the Minnesota case include Minnesota Timberwolves players Anthony Tolliver and rookie Derrick Williams along with Pistons guard and one-time Bull Ben Gordon. Free agent forward Carson Butler is also named as a plaintiff. The plaintiffs listed in the California suit include the Knicks Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard and Free agent Leon Powe.
The lawsuit filed claims that the NBA Lockout “constitutes an illegal group boycott, price-fixing agreement, and/or restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act” and that the owners’ final offer for a new CBA would have “wiped out the competitive market for most NBA players.”
The NBA and it’s owners have already fired back with a lawsuit of their own, claiming the legality of the lockout. The question now becomes where will the court battle take place. The owners filed their lawsuit earlier today to try and gain a home field advantage of sorts having the trials in New York. The players later field two lawsuits in Minnesota and California and it’s up to various judges to find out where to do battle.
The NFLPA filed in Minneapolis and actually had the judge rule in their favor. The NFL challenged the ruling and it went to the largely conservative 8th U.S. Circuit Court in St. Louis which overturned the ruling and extended the lockout.
It just goes to show how ugly this can get and the two sides are already on horrid terms. The NFL and the NFLPA still don’t get along and the tension in their lockout is child’s play when compared to the dislike and distrust between the NBA and the Union.
Either way you look at it, the courts are going to be getting involved with this mess and hopefully something can be sorted out. But don’t expect too much basketball other then that of the college kind, because once these two sides lawyer up, all the chips (all $6 Billion of them) are pushed to the middle of the table.