The NBTA(?) has filed its court documents in the states of California and Minnesota in order to secure a favorable venue in which to attack the NBA. The court filing
The documents were emailed to me by a reader [thanks!], and I could immediately find them online, so I uploaded them to one of my websites, you can view them here:
I haven't thoroughly researched all documents, but the California 1.2 document spells out the players case fairly succinctly starting at point 26.
They first show that the NBA is in fact a monopoly. This seems fairly obvious, but it's certainly key to the anti-trust law suit.
They discuss the threats by the NBA to drastically lower wages and restrict working conditions up to four years prior to the CBA expiring, then discuss the NBA's follow through on that threat.
what is interesting is they continually say the NBA has failed to make concessions in negotiation which seems fairly laughable given the complaint notes the NBA tried to remove guaranteed contracts, but in a hard cap, and drastically lower revenue. Regardless of how bad the NBA's initial position was, they did lift the remove many of the restrictions mentioned in the complaint, so it seems somewhat silly to pretend they didn't negotiate at all.
The NBA move off rollbacks, non guaranteed deals, 37% BRI, and a hard cap. Yes those may have been fake positions, but the league moved very significantly from the time bargaining started so why are we discussing how they didn't move? Presumably a judge won't be fooled and also feel this looks ridiculous.
The one point they do strike over and over though is that David Stern gave them an ultimatum. He effectively ended collective bargaining by offering a take or leave it offer with the threat that any other offer would result in the NBA resetting its position to something considerably worse than what is on the table.
From a purely reasonable [ie, completely non legal and might be laughed at by an actual lawyer, but sounds good to me] stance, this would appear to be a fairly large flaw in the owners position. Unlike the NFL who's decertification was a clear sham. The players can certainly make the case that their dissolution of the union is legitimate and comes after an impasse in bargaining.
While the Norris LaGuardia Act may prevent the courts from putting in an injunction to stop the lockout, they don't prevent the courts from awarding damages if the NBA players legitimately want to dissolve the union, and the NBA has put them in a position where the union must accept the league's offer or the bargaining process is over making the players dissolution of the union not seem so fake. Especially if they are still under a trade association come July.
While both sides will still likely reconvene and create a collective bargaining agreement, if that doesn't happen, the players would seem to have a gained considerable leverage if the owners are to continue to lockout the players for a missed season. If a ruling goes against the owners in the summer then they could face 6.5 billion in damages [trebled actual damages of the 2.17 billion the players made last year].
Lets hope both sides pull their collective heads out their asses and get something done instead.