David Stern Warns Players Against ‘the Nuclear Option’

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Players Association president Derek Fisher confirmed a report from earlier in the week, telling the media that union decertification is indeed on the table. It’s one of the so-called trump cards that players will have in their fight against the owners once the current collective bargaining agreement expires.

David Stern, as you can imagine, is ready for battle. He warns Fisher, Billy Hunter and the rest of his opponents that decertification might not serve them well in the end.

Stern provides the warning in his own inimitably subtle (yet wholly terrifying) way.

The AP reports:

NBA Commissioner David Stern says it would be risky for NBA players to decertify their union. Speaking with reporters Wednesday before the Charlotte Bobcats-Memphis Grizzlies game, Stern said if the union decertifies it wouldn’t just mean the end of the NBA players association, it would nullify the labor contract as well.

That would allow players to challenge antitrust laws, the commissioner said, an opportunity they don’t have with the collective bargaining agreement in place. But, he said, decertification is risky because there are $4 billion in guaranteed player contracts in effect for next season. “It’s a nuclear option,” Stern said, “but I’m not sure whether it isn’t the nuclear option that falls on the party that launches it.”

For what it’s worth, Billy Hunter told the press earlier this week that decertification isn’t a serious threat at the moment.

It will be interesting to see if the players have the collective courage to consider this “nuclear” option once the fight with team owners really starts. One thing is certain, though: David Stern is ready.