U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling to grant NFL players an injunction against the lockout imposed by owners is being seen as a victory for all sports unions, in particular the NBA players’ association, whose labor deal with the league expires on July 1. hats for sale

The NBPA already has enough signatures needed to decertify the union, CBSSports.com reported. Nelson’s decision helps legitimize the NFLPA’s move to dissolve the union and sets a precedent that will work against the NBA’s anticipated lockout of its players. NBA attorneys have been hopeful that federal courts would rule that the NFLPA’s decertification is a “sham,” according to the website. sports jerseys

Billy Hunter says the NFL ruling is just the beginning of a long fight. (AP photo)”This is a victory for all professional sports unions,” Gabe Feldman, head of theSportsLawCenteratTulaneUniversity, told CBS Sports.

But with the NFL planning to appeal Nelson’s decision, the victory “could be short-lived,” Feldman said. “If the case stands up on appeal, it gives player unions a significant, though costly, weapon to use as leverage in labor negotiations.” Monster Energy Hats

Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBPA, told SI.com that he expects a stay to Nelson’s ruling to be granted, and cautioned that while the decision is positive for the players, “it’s like the first round of a 15-round fight.”

“What it does is put pressure on us to sit down and settle this.” Hunter said.


The franchise tag would allow teams like the Hornets to tag stars like Chris Paul, keeping him from free agency but requiring New Orleansto pay him extra for that designation. It would be a way for small-market teams to protect their assets — but it would also represent a rollback of player rights, and sources on both the management and player side acknowledge that the passage of the franchise tag is a longshot. hats for sale

Keeping stars in small markets remains a problem, especially if clumps of talented players start gathering in bigger ones, much as James, Bosh and Wade did in Miamilast summer. The result has been good for the NBA’s television ratings and certainly good for the Heat — but the teams in Torontoand Clevelandhave utterly collapsed, and it could be a while before they’re back on their feet. sports jerseys

“The franchise tag is something the owners will bring up in the collective bargaining agreement, but now you’re going to have to get that by the players’ association, get them to buy into it,” said NBA TV analyst and former Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale. “It is an interesting concept — there is something to that. It would give the team that drafts a guy, develops a guy, more of an opportunity to hold on to the player. … Having the talent distributed all throughout the NBA is much better for the NBA, and the health of the game depends on having competitive teams in all different types of markets.” Monster Energy Hats

One way to distribute talent throughout the different markets of the league is the draft. But, as the ’03 draft has shown, even that method has its drawbacks.

What’s happening is that players are increasingly playing out their rookie contracts, signing their one, big maximum extension for something in the $75-85 million range and hitting fee agency with enough cash on hand to be less concerned about the extra money a home team can offer. We saw this with the players of the ’03 draft — and we could see more of it in the future. hats for sale

“What’s made it interesting now in the league is that you’ve got guys like Deron Williams, like LeBron, like Carmelo, who have signed that first max contract,” TNT analyst and former Suns GM Steve Kerr said. sports jerseys “So now they’ve got all this money in the bank, they’ve already made huge money and now they have the opportunity to go wherever they want without having to lock in on the long-term deal to make sure they’re taking care of their future. In the past, it was too difficult for guys to pass up a huge contract, so they would just choose to lock up with their hometown team. Now you’re seeing this trend where guys who have a bunch of money in the bank are now saying, ‘Hey, I can go wherever I want.’” Monster Energy Hats

NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, shakes hands with Chris Bosh, of Georgia Tech, after he was chosen as the fourth pick in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors Thursday, June 26, 2003 inNew York. (AP Photo/Ed Betz) Just about the only happy ending from the ’03 draft is No. 5 pick Dwyane Wade, who is still with the Heat. That makes him one of just four players who, seven years after the draft, is still with the same team — the Clippers’ Chris Kaman, the Thunder’s Nick Collison and the Celtics’ Kendrick Perkins (who was technically drafted by Memphis, but was traded on draft day) are the others. hats for sale

Team owners have certainly taken notice, and the fates of the players taken in the ’03 draft is one reason the league is floating the “franchise tag” sports jerseys concept in its collective-bargaining discussions. Owners are trying to find ways to keep star players with the teams that drafted them, which, once upon a time, was done by signing them to seven-year contracts (for the record, it was the owners who wanted that reduced to five years) and allowing hometown teams to pay players more. Monster Energy Hats

There is no question that the 2003 NBA draft ranks among the greatest in league history, perhaps even better than the 1984 version that gave us Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton. That’s in terms of talent, at least. Frame the ’03 bunch in a different way — what the players did over the long haul for the franchises that selected them — and things look much, much different. hats for sale

Start with the vaunted Top 5. No. 1 pick LeBron James bolted from Clevelandlast summer, and now the Cavs are the league’s worst team, having set a new record for consecutive losses. Darko Milicic, of course, was a bust at No. 2 for Detroit, and No. 3 pick Carmelo Anthony helped revive the Nuggets before dragging the franchise down this year by refusing to sign a contract extension and nudging the team into extended and exhausting trade discussions. Toronto chose Chris Bosh with the No. 4 pick, sports jerseysand Bosh followed James to Miami this summer, and the Raptors are on pace for 60 losses. Monster Energy Hats

“It’s about allowing teams to access the pool of available talent, and not have teams spend an inordinate sum of money and being able to simply pay a tax to have the better team,” the commissioner said. “The whole concept of hardening of a cap is designed to make players available on a broader basis. Those are the things that are being talked about.” hats for sale

Stern also addressed other aspects of the negotiations, including the age minimum for players entering the league.

The NBA players association has asked for the minimum age to be rolled back to 18 instead of the current 19. Stern said teams want to avoid drafting players straight out of high school because they’d like to have an extra year to watch prospects at the collegiate level or in Europebefore investing in them. sports jerseys

But some have said that makes a mockery out of NCAA Division I college basketball because after the first semester, top prospects no longer have to worry about being academically eligible if they plan to turn pro, so they stop going to class.

“If a school is without voice to say that they don’t require the player to go to classes after January, that’s very much their problem and not ours,” Stern said. Monster Energy Hats

Hunter told the Times that decertification was just an option that was available in case of a lockout, but there was “nothing immediate.”

The Sports Business Journal reported Monday that players from at least two teams had voted unanimously to authorize decertification, which could allow the players to sue the NBA if it attempted to impose a lockout when the collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30.

Hunter is meeting with teams to discuss the labor situation. hats for sale

Stern said the goal of labor talks with the players association on a new CBA is to get more parity among teams through revenue-sharing and other stipulations. sports jerseys

In his comments Wednesday, Stern focused on the balance between competitiveness and economics as part of the negotiations. He noted that a hard salary cap, similar to what the National Football League has, might be a good model because the NFL is considered a league with competitive balance. Monster Energy Hats

He said there will “be a more robust revenue-sharing arrangement” under the new collective bargaining agreement.