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NBA players union has enough votes to decertify

by Derrick Johnson on April 26, 2011

The current collective bargaining rules of the National Basketball Association (NBA) expire on June 30 and there are rumors that the organization may follow the same path as the National Football League (NFL).

In part, the conflict arose when the owners of the teams introduced new regulations that would put a hard cap on salaries instead of a soft one, reduce the length of guaranteed contracts and take away the valuable luxury tax system from which players can currently benefit.

The move may be made easier by the ruling made by a U.S. District Court judge, who granted an injunction to the case between the NFL players union and owners that may provide a valuable backdrop for the similar legal battle within the NBA.

Another point of contention is how much money each NBA team is losing. NBA commissioner David Stern has claimed that 22 of the 30 teams are expected to lose money this season, up to a total of $300 million.

Judge Susan Richard Nelson ended the current lockout within the NFL, saying that it was causing "irreparable" harm to the players, according to The Associated Press.

"This is a victory for all professional sports unions," Gabe Feldman, head of the Sports Law Center at Tulane University, told CBSSports.com. "If the case stands up on appeal, it gives player unions a significant, though costly, weapon to use as leverage in labor negotiations."

In the case of an NBA lockout, ESPN.com reports that players could follow the tactic of the NFL by decertifying and filing an antitrust lawsuit wherever the league does any kind of business. In the worst case scenario, this could mean that games may not be played in the following seasons for either league.  

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