Wednesday, while the head of the NBA players union — president Derek Fisher and director Billy Hunter — are negotiating with David Stern, the union’s lawyers will be talking to a judge.
Remember last month the league filed a lawsuit against the union, essentially trying to block the union’s path to decertification. According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the union’s lawyers will meet with the judge about that suit Wednesday. That meeting will be mostly procedural.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe has ordered attorneys for both sides to join a conference call to discuss the scheduling of hearings, the basic positions on each side and the motion to dismiss the players’ attorneys have informed the court they will be filing.
Put simply, if you’re a basketball fan you hope this meeting with the judge is irrelevant. You want the negotiations this week between the owners and players to start to produce tangible results. In the end, that is how this lockout will be solved, and the sooner the two sides get it done the more basketball we get.
If this lawsuit becomes an issue, it is because those negotiations fell apart. It’s because the union is getting serious about decertification. All of which means NBA basketball could be on hold a long time. Let the judge talk to everyone about scheduling, but let’s all hope we don’t get far into that schedule.
Both sides have also filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board saying the other side did not negotiate in good faith. I’m not sure anyone is negotiating in the common sense definition of good faith here, but the board is expected to make a more legal ruling on that in the coming weeks.