NBA players not ruling out union decertification

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If it comes to this, it’s when you know things have gotten really, really bad.

But for now the NBPA — the players union — is refusing to take the idea of decertification of the union off the table, according to Howard Beck at the New York Times.

Of course, not taking it off the table and actually using it are two very different things.

But the path the N.F.L. Players Association chose — decertification, coupled with an antitrust lawsuit — remains a weapon in the basketball players’ arsenal should negotiations fail.

“It’s not off the table in any way,” said Jeffrey Kessler, the outside counsel for the N.B.P.A. “There’s no immediate urgency to that issue. It’s an option the players are actively considering. But they have time to decide whether it makes sense to end the union or not.”

Kessler, who also serves as outside counsel for the football players’ union, is known as a fierce proponent of decertification as a means to gain bargaining leverage. Hunter and Derek Fisher, the basketball players’ union president, prefer to stick to negotiating.

Shocking, the high-priced attorney sees going to court — a process that requires a lot of lawyers and a lot of prep time — as a good option. (It’s the same way surgeons see surgery as the best way to deal with many health problems where there are other options, it’s a worldview.) But he is right that you never take it off the table. Just pray they don’t use it.

It took the NFL four months to get to the point where the court battle is at a standstill. Four months from the start of the NBA lockout would put them in October, when camps should be opening. Fisher and Hunter are wise to negotiate, to be patient, not to take a radical step until you must.

If the NBA players union does decertify — and it got the signed paperwork from players to do it during the season — it will be a strategy fraught with risk. there will be no owners and while the players can sue the owners can institute new rules to their liking. Decertification would be a sign that things were going so poorly the union decided that blowing things up was the better option.

Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist taken to hospital after shoulder injury

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.

Derrick Rose expected to rejoin Bulls on Wednesday

Derrick Rose
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CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.

“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”

Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.

“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”

The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.

Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.