by Lang Whitaker

There’s been a little bit of noise the last few months about this new ball that the NBA is using, and also some stuff about the referees calling more technical fouls than they used to call. I don’t know, you may have heard a little something about it?

(OK, assuming the worst, that you know nothing about anything of this, read this post and this post and then come on back. Done? Let’s move on.)

So the Player’s Association wasn’t the happiest labor organzation in the world, OK? Then, a few weeks ago Billy Hunter and the NBA Players signed a deal with a supplement company without consulting the NBA, and the NBA wasn’t very happy about that. (We covered that here.)

Earlier this week, David Aldridge wrote that the players were still pretty upset about the whole thing, but that a lawsuit was “a longshot.”


Late today the NBA Player’s took that longshot and filed two unfair labor practice charges against the NBA. The two beefs? The new ball and the refs gone wild. According to the AP story, the players think they can win because of a clause in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement…

The union feels it was entitled to have input on both changes before they were put into play. The section of the collective bargaining agreement titled On-Court Conduct, states, in part:

“Prior to the date on which any new rule promulgated by the NBA becomes effective, the NBA shall provide notice of such new rule to the Players Association and consult with the Players Association with respect thereto.”

Look, I’m no lawyer, but even to me it doesn’t really seem like the players have much of a leg to stand on here. They’re mad about two things, and I understand that, but neither of those things are “new rule”s; to me the ball is an equipment issue, and the refs thing isn’t a rule change but a change in the interpretation of a rule.

I spoke with an NBA executive tonight and he agreed that the Player’s don’t really seem to have much of an argument here, but as he said, “The Players will certainly use this against the owners in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

What happens next? I have no idea. I’m sure writers and others who know more about the legal system will weigh in. (This is like Chad Ford’s perfect storm.) As for me, I’m going to watch the Hawks/Cavs game.

We’ll check back in on all of this tomorrow and see what’s up…