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Fisher, Hunter send letter to players explaining process

Nov 14, 2011, 9:08 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Fisher speaks at a news conference alongside Executive Director of the NBA player's association Hunter in New York Reuters

Usually when you are talking NBA and “disclaimer of interest” we’re talking about Carmelo Anthony and defense.

But now we are talking about the legal process and how by the NBA players union filing a disclaimer of interest they are abandoning their place as the negotiating body for the players in getting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It means anti-trust lawsuits and a whole lot more. It’s complex.

NBPA president Derek Fisher and Director Billy Hunter sent out a letter to NBA players, which was obtained by ESPN. Here are a few highlights.

As a result, we will now function as a trade association to assist and support NBA players, but we will
no longer engage in collective bargaining with the NBA owners…

With no labor union in place, it is our sincere hope that the NBA will immediately end its now illegal boycott and finally open the 2011-12 season. Individual teams are free to negotiate with free agents for your services. If the owners choose to continue their present course of action, it is our view that they subject themselves to significant antitrust liability

If you think the NBA is going to open up free agency, then I am a Nigerian prince with a great money-making plan for you. Just email me.

Also as part of this, the union had to withdraw it’s unfair labor practices complaint against the owners with the National Labor Relations Board. Also, the union can no longer regulate agents.

The process is that the union will file its disclaimer and the league will challenge it as a sham and then it is on in court. The two sides will fight a few legal skirmishes and talk big for a month, then probably start to negotiate again to try and save the season.

But right now it feels like there is little chance of saving that.

  1. hail2tharedskins - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    Well if one thing was learned from the NFL / NFLPA battle is that a lockout is a legal tactic. They never resolved how long a league can remain isloated from anti-trust liability but it was pretty clear that the appealate court said simply disclaiming interest does not instantly remove the dispute from labor law arena to the anti-trust area. If as you report that the players have hired David Boies to represent them, that will be interesting since he repesented the league in the NFL dispute and arguing for the legality of the lockout and I believe his argument was that it should be at least one season before the courts force the lifting of the lockout after a union ceases to exist.

  2. Gordon - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    It’s starting to feel like you need to have a law degree to be a pro sports fan nowadays.

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