NBA Players File A Claim Against Owners: What Does This Mean?

"Hey Girlfriend don't blame me -- they did it!" -- David Stern on what the hell is going on

The NBA Players Union has filed a claim against the NBA Owners that they are unfairly bargaining at the mediation process. They filed their claim to the National Labor Relations Board who deals with these claims.

The NBA Owners have given a proposal to the Players Union as recently as a month ago. In it there was a hard cap (estimated around 45 million), reduced salaries, among other things. The Union swiftly rejected that policy hoping to get back to mediation and knuckle this thing out.

However, According to ESPN’s Chris Sheriden, the players claim is that:

“the NBA is engaging in “classic ‘take it or leave it’ and surface bargaining” with the intent of running out the clock on the CBA, “until the NBA locks out the represented employees in order to coerce them into accepting the NBA’s harsh and regressive demands.”

The NBA responded with:

“There is no merit to the charge filed today by the Players Association with the National Labor Relations Board, as we have complied — and will continue to comply — with all of our obligations under the federal labor laws. It will not distract us from our efforts to negotiate in good faith a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association,”

Ugh…it begins…

This reminds me a lot of the current Labor dispute. Not so much of it’s context, but the dynamics of the “he said, she said” game. David Stern has stuck his feet in the ground, unwilling to give up his views of what a new CBA should look like. The union on the other hand is fighting hard for the current CBA in place (which has guaranteed contracts, a big deal to them).

It’s likely that David Stern (or one of his representatives) insulted, to some degree, the Players Union with their offer. Derek Fisher recently stated that, “Unfortunately, the proposal is very similar to the proposal the league submitted over a year ago,” … “This last proposal doesn’t look close to what we were expecting.”

It’s really frustrating for fans because now it seems almost inevitable that there will be a lockout. The Players have chosen to play hard ball, a tactic that won’t go down well with David Stern. It’s no secret the NBA is losing money, this isn’t like the NFL. The Owners have provided the sufficient information necessary for the players to look over.

Yet the Players are crying foul over this negotiating tactic of, “we have the leverage because we can lock you out.” The mediation is supposed to be fair and constructive. Unless the Owners have blatantly come out and said something along the lines of, ‘Well we will just wait until we can lock you out, then you’ll start to like our proposal.’

Playing hard-ball does not work. We’ve seen what has happened to the NFL. While fans still clamour to the belief that a deal will get done before training camp, it seems more likely than ever that no games will be played.

Chris Paul, Monty Williams and Dell Demps wait it out...

For the Hornets and the rest of the NBA teams, this means a number of things.

First, there will likely be no free-agency period until the lockout is lifted (if one is put in place, which as explained before seems likely with such tough-nosed tactics from both sides). General Managers like Dell Demps will be unable to do anything, unable to make trades, talk with players not even plan for the immediate future.

It’s why Chris Paul is going to relax this offseason and just see how things go. Rather than getting caught up in all of the banter and hysteria most players will likely sit back and relax.

Guys like David West and Carl Landry won’t. Because their contracts are at an end (West has an option), they can’t sign on with New Orleans or anyone else for that matter. What this means is that we won’t have any roster moves for a long, long time.

It’s really sad that this is the way it’s going to play out. The P.R. battle has started with the NBA pointing the finger at the Players, and the Players pointing the finger at the NBA. Sometimes I just wish people would grow up.

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