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Can decertification mean all NBA contracts are void? Not likely.

Nov 14, 2011, 9:51 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Getty Images

Among the arguments David Stern warned the union about when talking about decertification was this — the league would try to invalidate all existing contracts if the union decertified. That’s in the league’s pre-emptive lawsuit against the union trying to block decertification.

But can they really? Maybe the better question is, do they really want to? You think Micky Arison wants to void all the contracts of the Heat, or that Oklahoma City wants to void Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s deals? I can think of players on all 30 teams where the owners don’t want to risk voiding deals, even if they like the negotiating position.

It’s not really likely to happen anyway, according to Andrew Brandt at TrueHoop.

I would find it very unlikely that the Court would agree with the NBA’s position.

The player contracts in the NBA have guarantees that are laid out with specific language about payment even in the event of release for lack of skill, injury, etc. Unless they make explicit reference to what Stern is referring to — such as the guarantee “not applicable during a strike, lockout or other work stoppage” — I would not anticipate the Court reading that language in nor invalidating the contracts.

Good. So we can move on from this and to important things, like if the union’s “disclaimer of interest” is really a sham.

  1. ghelton03 - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Does anyone believe anything that Stern says anymore?

  2. ghelton03 - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    No way the owners void contracts. Any attempt to do that will have the winning owners at the throats of the loser owners. Stern will have to decide if the winner owners run the league or the loser owners. Even Stern isn’t dumb enough to side with the loser owners.

  3. charlutes - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    I think I’m one of the few saying good for the players all the way. Start your own league and play at Rucker for all I care, I don’t need the suits selling me the overpriced seat and beer.

    • ghelton03 - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:48 PM

      charlutes – Nov 14, 2011 at 10:38 PM
      I think I’m one of the few saying good for the players all the way. Start your own league and play at Rucker for all I care, I don’t need the suits selling me the overpriced seat and beer.

      You’re not not among the few behind the players, as they have a very large support group. As far as the players forming thir own league, I don’t see that happening, but there is nothing to say that another group of owners could not form a league. It has happened before. Remember the ABA?

  4. therealhtj - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    If they did manage to void contracts, a big if, the owners would likely move to have right of first refusal on the voided contracts.

    • ghelton03 - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:45 PM

      therealhtj – Nov 14, 2011 at 10:40 PM
      If they did manage to void contracts, a big if, the owners would likely move to have right of first refusal on the voided contracts.

      Not sure, what you mean, but if you are suggesting the owners can pick and choose which contracts they void, that’s not going to happen. Either all contracts are void, or all contracts are retained.

      • therealhtj - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:52 PM

        Don’t be so sure. The owners have fought for having the best of both worlds all along, I’d think they’d collude to some way of retaining their existing stars and dumping their bad deals if it ever came to it.

        I doubt it will though. It’ll settle long before an actual anti-trust ruling ever even comes close.

  5. brooklynbulls - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    What can the players actually benefit from decertifiction? At this late stage they’re just throwing away the season to go to court. The offers arent going to get better. Cant understand the strategy, seems like a plan hatched out of desperation instead of prudent planning

    • 6thsense79 - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:48 AM

      I hear what you’re saying brooklyn but I just think the owners pushed the players too far and in any negotiation when one group tries to beat down another the other group will do something not totally rational. It should be just business but emotions, ego, and pride get in the way. I’m also wholly for the players here. They’ve given up a lot. From 57% of revenue they initially wanted to go down to 52.5% but gave in to 50% which is $280 million per year now going to the owners pockets that wasn’t before. Which over a 6 year CBA works out to almost $1.7 billion given up.

      I really think the last straw was the you take this offer else we’ll replace it with a worse one that only gives you 47% of revenue. Who the heck negotiates like that? What if you were out looking for a job and you send in your salary request for say…..$60,0000.. Which is more or less in line with what the market pays for your skill level..the business comes back and says we’ll offer you $50,000 with less benefits and if you don’t take it within 3 days the amount goes down to $37,000………………..How would that rub you? Wouldn’t that put you in a fighting mind frame? Why people “negotiate” this way is beyond me. The crazy thing is EVERYONE loses. The deal on the table was one that covered the loses for owners claiming they were losing money…….

      Also if the NBA really wants parity like the NFL then maybe they should pool all the individual teams’ revenue and split it evenly every year so everyone has the same amount of money to work with. LA recently signed a $30 million per year regional deal with time warner that they don’t have to share with any other NBA team. They’ll always make more money than say…..the Bucks…Players will always look at LA or even NY as a destination franchise they’d want to play for because of the of the two cities…I don’t see anything wrong with that either.

      • therealhtj - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:25 AM

        Please, please, please stop throwing out that revenue sharing nonsense. If you own a Subway franchise in LA, NYC, Chicago, or Miami, you spend more on it expect to make more from it than a subway in Milwaukee or Memphis. No way should a successful franchise be expected to share revenue with a totally mismanaged one. That’s like saying the players share of revenue should be equally distributed amongst all of them.

        I mean, Lebron and Kobe can’t play alone right? So the 12th man should be earning as much as the superstar, right? Why not throw all player revenues in one big pool and distribute equally. Rookies, scrubs, stars – all equal. Sounds totally fair, right? Everyone would get around 4.4 million – hey that’s A LOT of money. Maybe the agents with the top client rosters should be sharing their revenues with the struggling smaller agencies. Shouldn’t all the agencies struggling expect help from the bigger agencies?

        Revenue sharing is a ridiculous notion penalizing successful teams for the benefit of the weaker ones. I, for one, am disgusted by the notion of my hard work and abilities being penalized simply because others can’t keep up.

        The upcoming Lakers regional deal is for $150 million annually by the way, the current one is just a paltry 30 million, but that’s what you should expect for running a wildly successful franchise not simply because of market size. Otherwise the Clippers and Nets would have similar deals.

        I do agree with you though that they threw away a perfectly good NBA season over some nonsense. The money was agreed to. Do a reduced MLE and some S&T’s that almost never get used really amount to that much for either side?

      • hystoracle - Nov 15, 2011 at 9:56 AM

        Comparing professional sports teams/leagues to sandwich shops is apples to oranges.. The Sandwich shop hopes all the other sandwich shops go out of business so he can reap the benefit.. In a league you do NOT want other teams going out of business . It is bad for the league.. You need all the teams to be successful.. Would be very boring just watching 6 big market teams play each other all the time.. The Big market teams rely on the smaller market teams to make the game and league interesting to watch.. Revenue sharing is essential to having a competitive balance.. Without competitive balance teams will go bankrupt (because no one will want to watch them continuously lose) and the league will begin to diminish.. Not to mention I don’t see the players giving up those jobs.. The guys playing for the small market teams want just as much money as the ones playing for the big market teams..

      • gor76 - Nov 15, 2011 at 9:56 AM

        on the other hand, tj, the Subway franchises in LA, NYC, Chicago, and Miami aren’t worth significantly less if they don’t get employees of franchises from places like Milwaukee and Memphis to regularly come and make sandwiches.

  6. lucky5934 - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:58 AM

    I say cancel the season and let both sides suffer. The players should accept a 50-50 in my opinion, and the owners need to stop playing a game of “How low can we make the players go”. This is not a mess that is caused by one side only. Both sides are screwing the pooch here. I mean really, you’re going to decertify AND THEN tell rest of the players? Owners are thinking about voiding contracts? All this time spent trying to undo the other’s previous move, instead of working on negotiating in good faith and like men. So again, why should I care about a season when both sides only care about money? Cancel the season and let’s move on with our lives instead of hitting up for hourly updates.

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