It sounds ominous, but it’s no more ominous than all the other bad signs out there. This is really more about posturing and having your ducks in a row before heading back to the negotiating table.
Players from at least two NBA teams have unanimously voted to decertify the NBA Players Association, the players union, according to the Dallas Business Journal. They also explain why the players would vote to blow up the body that is negotiating for them.
If the NBPA were to decertify, it would, in effect, operate as a trade organization but cease to be a union. If the league then tried to lock out players, the NBPA could sue the NBA under U.S. antitrust laws and contend that the league was conducting a group boycott, which is illegal. It could not sue the NBA if it remained a union with collective-bargaining authority for its members, under the labor exemption to antitrust laws.
“If the owners are going to lock the players out, the players want to have the option of decertifying the union and asserting their antitrust rights to stop the lockout,” said a source close to the NBPA. “This would keep the game going, not just for the fans but for the players and everyone else.”
Of course it’s not that simple, it’s never that simple. For one, to decertify the union means saying (and proving if challenged) that the union has failed in its duties. Good luck with that. Know that this is a fairly common move in negotiations. But in the public relations game the players could say, “we want to come back to work, it’s those grumpy old owners that won’t let us.” Whether they take that step to decertify the union is another question all together, but it’s out there.
Just to reiterate — a lockout is coming in July. Accept it, become at one with it. The real question is does a deal get worked out before games would start in late October.