The court-ordered end to the NFL lockout by a U.S. district judge Monday will certainly resonate with the National Basketball Players Association as it considers whether to follow a similar strategy of decertification and litigation if the NBA owners impose a lockout as is widely expected this summer.
“I have to get a look at more information in terms of how the decision was made, what factors, what criteria it was based on,” said Lakers guard Derek Fisher, the player president of the NBPA. “But I don’t think there’s any question that how some of the things on the NFL side are playing out are going to impact the way our NBA labor situation plays out. They’re not exactly the same, there are a lot of differences. But there are also some similarities that I think will give us as players as well as our owners a little bit of an indication of how things would play out if we went down certain paths. So I’m sure both sides will continue to watch the NFL situation closely."
So will this encourage the National Basketball Players Association to force the issue with a lawsuit rather than collective bargaining negotiations?
“It depends,” Fisher said. “It’s never your first option. It’s never something that you truly want to have to do. And I anticipate a lot happening between now and July 1 [when the current collective bargaining agreement expires] on our side. And because of what’s playing out on the NFL side, I think you’ll see both sides in the NBA watching it closely, making some adjustments and adapting some things based on what’s going on.
“Our goal is to get a deal done and not to have to decertify and go into court situations to drag the process out. NBA basketball has never been better. There’s no reason for us to consciously do anything to take that away from the most important group of people, which is our fans. They’re the ones that are investing their time and their resources, their money, in the most troubling economic times of just about all of our lifetimes. This game is still growing in that environment. We have a responsibility to them to try to get something figured out.”