Players File Antitrust Lawsuits Against NBA Owners

lockoutThe players are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

OK, it’s not a battle scene from “300” that’s currently being played out now but they are unleashing their lawyers and have filed lawsuits in California and Minnesota courts seeking monetary damages and an end to the lockout. Their contention that the owners are not negotiating fairly to seek a resolution to the current NBA lockout, which the players also claim is “illegal.”

Obviously, this is really just a tactic to force the owners back to the negotiating table and convince them to make more concessions for the players and have a collective bargaining agreement once and for all. Should there be no resolution to the stalemate, the judge could side with the players and trigger a huge payday where all those paychecks they’re currently missing could triple in value.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Northern District of California by the lawyers David Boies and Jonathan Schiller, who were retained by the players on Monday when they disbanded their union.

“I hope it is not necessary to litigate this all the way,” Boies said during a news conference at the Harlem headquarters of the union, the National Basketball Players Association. “I hope at some point the N.B.A. and the teams will have enough concern for basketball fans that they will resolve these issues and allow the players to start playing.”

The lawsuit was filed in collaboration with the N.B.P.A., which continues to operate as a trade association under the leadership of Billy Hunter, its executive director. The lead plaintiffs listed are Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups of the Knicks, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the free agent Leon Powe and the San Antonio Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard. Those players were chosen because they represent a wide range of classes within the association.

A separate, similar lawsuit was filed earlier Tuesday in Minnesota, by a law firm representing the free agent Caron Butler, Ben Gordon of the Detroit Pistons, Anthony Tolliver of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Derrick Williams, a Timberwolves draft pick. 

So now there’s no official players union and with the owners having submitted their final offer to the players who rejected it on Monday, there are no meetings between both sides. Let’s hope that the players and their lawyers are right and that these legal actions will in fact lead to more negotiations because as of now there’s a whole lot of talking from both sides, whether it’s to the media or on the Internet, but no real action to get this lockout finished.

In the meantime, anyone up for some NBA 2K12?