Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant & More Named As Plaintiffs In NBA Antitrust Lawsuit

Nuclear winter has officially arrived for the NBA. As expected, players have filed two anti-trust lawsuits against the NBA. One in Minneapolis and one in Northern California. The suits claim, players have been coerced into agreeing to anti-competitive player restraints, and massive salary loss. Also, that the defendants-that would be the owners- are conspiring to eliminate competition between themselves. Want the details?

NBA players sued the league alleging antitrust violations Tuesday, in part using commissioner David Stern’s own words against him in making their case that the lockout is illegal. With two antitrust actions — one in California naming superstars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant among five plaintiffs, and another in Minnesota naming four plaintiffs — the players are seeking summary judgment and treble damages totaling three times the players’ lost wages due to what lead attorney David Boies referred to as an illegal group boycott.

The California case, filed Tuesday night in the Northern District, named plaintiffs who represent a wide array of players: Anthony, Durant and Chauncey Billups (high-paid stars); Leon Powe (a mid-level veteran); and Kawhi Leonard (a rookie). The plaintiffs in a similar case filed in Minnesota are Caron Butler, Ben Gordon, Anthony Tolliver and Derrick Williams. Boies said there could be other lawsuits, and at some point, they could be combined. It is possible, Boies said, that the players could get a summary judgment before the NBA cancels the entire season — essentially a two-month timeframe. By that point, with the clock starting on potential damages Tuesday — which was supposed to have been the first pay day of the season for the majority of players — treble damages could amount to $2.4 billion.

“We would hope that it’s not necessary to go to trial and get huge damages to bring them to a point where they are prepared to abide by the law,” Boies said.

There are several differences between these  this situation and what happened with the NFL players during theirs, the NFL players were limited in courts where they could file based off terms in their previous CBA. Also, their case was harder to prove as it was filed in the off season. Where they wouldn’t have been expecting to receive pay. NBA players missed their first check yesterday. For the average NBA player, that amounts to about $220,000

Stern’s ultimatum to accept the deal or it would get worst was a game of chicken. He thought the players were going to blink. If it worked, the owners would’ve praised him for his shrewd negotiating tactics but since it had the opposite affect, the players will now use his words to argue that the owners weren’t acting in good faith in the negotiations.

I still think it’s possible we have a season in January. Just like the lockout of 98 but for now, all the action is in a different court. The officially court date is February 29th, 2012 but could be moved up.

I’m shedding a tear.