NBA players filed an anti-trust lawsuit in the Northern District of California on Tuesday in an attempt force talks with the team owners. The suit seeks monetary damages for lost wages and an end to an “illegal boycott of the work force.”
The N.B.P.A (National Basketball Player’s Association) is collaborating in the suit, naming Carmello Anthony and Chauncey Billups (New York Knicks), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Leon Power (free agent) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) as lead plaintiffs.
Now that the collective bargaining agreement has fallen apart and the union disbanned, more lawsuits are expected to be filed. One such suit, also filed on Tuesday, is asking for monetary damages and a permanent injunction on behalf of Caron Butler (free agent), Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons), Anthony Tolliver (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves draft pick). Another suit is expected on behalf of the rookies.
Tuesday coincided with the players’ first missed paychecks; which amounted to more than $170 million for the league. David Boise, attorney for the California suit, said that the Commissioner’s ultimatum regarding league’s proposal last Thursday “turned out to be a mistake.” The monetary damages under antitrust law are triple, which may prove to be incentive for owners to head back into negotiations. However, in an interview with ESPN on Monday, NBA Commissioner David Stern said because there is no union, he is unsure with whom they would be negotiating and “we won’t be doing anything soon.”