Progress was made Tuesday in the NBA lockout.
Not actual progress towards a compromise and an NBA season. Rather, just the potential expedition of a court settlement.
Players consolidated two antitrust lawsuits filed last week in hopes of accelerating the process of a court judgment and bringing an end to the lockout.
Lead attorney David Boies announced his team had filed a voluntary notice of dismissal of their California suit, opting to merge the suit with their filing in Minnesota.
“This should permit us to expedite the case,” Boies told reporters in his Manhattan office. “It [consolidation] could have been done either place. Talking it through…we thought things probably would move faster in Minnesota. The docket is less congested there.”
The lawsuit will also consolidate plaintiffs, including Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Kevin Durant and the addition of Rajon Rondo and Steve Nash, among others.
The NBA now has until Dec. 5 to respond in court. Either side can initiate negotiations at any time, of course that requires either side actually speaking to one another.
That’s a scenario Boies still recommends: “Litigation is not the best way to resolve most disputes. Most disputes ought to be settled.”
The league released the following statement during Boies’ press conference:
“This is consistent with Mr. Boies’ inappropriate shopping for a forum that he can only hope will be friendlier to his baseless legal claims,” wrote Rick Buchanan, the league’s general counsel.
Boies reportedly laughed off the statement, considering this is the same “forum shopping” the players accused the league of when they filed a preemptive lawsuit this summer in New York.
Barring a return to the negotiating table, players and owners will almost assuredly battle over a single court setting: in owner-friendly New York or player-friendly Minnesota.
If the case does go to trial – even with the court’s expedition – a settlement could take two to three months. And spell doom for an NBA season.
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