As the NBA Lockout puts the 2011-2012 NBA season in jeopardy, five of the most powerful agents in the NBA, Arn Tellem, Bill Duffy, Mark Bartelstein, Jeff Schwartz and Dan Fegan, spoke recently and came to the conclusion that the NBPA should decertify.
They believe that the NBA owners have all the leverage and decertifying could take away some of that leverage.
NBPA executive director Billy Hunter has resisted the idea, but that might not matter.
The agents could try for an involuntary decertification, which would involve getting 30 percent of players to sign a petition, which is about how much the percentage of NBA players the five agents represent.
Then after that, there is a whole lot more legal stuff that needs to happen, but as of now, they have yet to ask for signatures.
However, it's not in the union's best interest to decertify. Read on to find out why not.
Executive director Billy Hunter has stated his opposition to decertifying the union. Rather, Hunter intends on pursuing the unfair labor practices charge the union filed with the National Labor Relations Board against the NBA a few months ago. A ruling on that is expected soon and if they rule in the union's favor, then they will have the leverage they need.
He isn't the only one against it though. Derek Fisher, the players union president, is also against decertifying. Fisher said that decertifying isn't necessary to get a deal done.
"In our opinion, it’s always been something that, only when we truly believe that we cannot do our jobs as a players association, as a union, would we ever consider that,” Fisher said.
The union leadership aren't the only ones that are against decertifying. In fact, many NBA players are against it.
Veteran Chauncey Billups has been the most outspoken player on the topic. Billups has been spreading the word to every NBA player he sees to stick with the union. Billups was has gone through this before as he was in the league during the last NBA lockout in 1998.
The push for decertifying is being led by agents, and Billups sees something wrong with that. "This is not really between the agents and the owners. We shouldn't be persuaded to decertify by somebody who shouldn't be doing any persuading," Billups said.
Kobe Bryant has also offered his support and is working to keep the players united.
Yes, the owners and players union have "negotiated," but I would hesitate to even call it that.
At this stage in the game, no side is eager to budge. And why should they? The projected start of the season is still about one month away. Neither side has anything to lose, yet. This isn't like the NFL where one game would have thrown off the entire season. If the NBA misses 20 games, it wouldn't make that much of a difference.
Negotiations won't start to get serious until games are missed and people stop receiving pay checks. It's sad, but it's true. Until that point, neither side will try to compromise and honestly, it doesn't make sense for them to. Why weaken your hand willingly when the other side has no intention to?
Decertifying won't help this process.
Both sides can and will come to an agreement. It will just probably take longer (missed games) than fans want it to.