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Court ruling on NFL has little impact on NBA lockout

NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA

SAN ANTONIO - JUNE 21: (L-R) Players representative Michael Curry, NBA commissioner David Stern and president of the NBA Players Association Billy Hunter pose together after a press conference announcing that the NBA and the NBA Players Association have agreed in principal on a new 6-year Collective Bargining Agreement (CBA) prior to Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs on June 21, 2005 at SBC Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Brian Bahr

While the two sides seem close to a deal in the NFL lockout, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has come down with a ruling favoring the NFL — saying that the lockout can continue in that sport.

What does that mean for the NBA lockout?

Nothing much.

The National Basketball Players Association (the NBA player’s union) is not expected to decertify, as the NFL players union did. The NBA union did collect paperwork from the players allowing for decertification, just in case, but union president Billy Hunter has said multiple times it was not a card they planned to play. The players union did not plan to challenge the legality of the lockout.

David Stern called decertification “the nuclear option” and warned the players probably didn’t want to go down that road.

One key reason was timing — the NBA off-season is shorter than the NFL’s, and the federal court system is not what anyone describes as speedy. The NBA does not really have time for an interlude in the courts if they plan to play all or most of a season.

Both the players union and NBA have been watching this case and will no doubt review the ruling in detail. But in the end it doesn’t mean much. What matters is the two sides getting back to the bargaining table and actually talking.