We've heard about this decertification option and until recently it has mostly been dismissed as an ineffective bluff by the union. But it sounds more and more likely by the day. So, just what will happen if they go that route? Since I'm far from being a lawyer, I'll let other people explain.
If decertification does take place, negotiating would continue under different leadership (good luck guessing who that might be). Players would file an antitrust lawsuit against the league, with the hope of a ruling that the lockout is illegal and possible treble damages coming their way (good luck, period). The reality, though, is that the ones pushing hardest for decertification are focused far more on the short-term gain than anything else. According to a source, pro-decertification agent Arn Tellem has recently been telling the tale of the 1998-99 lockout and how the thought of decertification was said to have scared Stern into making a deal. But in my opinion, this mix of owners is far more ferocious and in control than the ones back then.
Another option would be something called Disclaimer of Interest. (read details after the break)
Decertification is not an immediate event, nor is it instantly reversible. Instead, it normally requires recognition by the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency that regulates union-management activities. In the alternative, players could seek a disclaimer of interest, which is a similar but swifter and more retractable step and refers to the players' association disclaiming interest in representing players. Either decertification or disclaimer of interest would enable players to file antitrust litigation. NBA players are inclined to opt for decertification because it could help them defend against the league's unfair labor practices charge with the NLRB. Decertification would signal that the players are serious about the Players' Association no longer representing them; only disclaiming interest could suggest that the players' association will reclaim interest the moment a deal is reached with the NBA. The NBA could argue that the players are only disclaiming interest to bring antitrust litigation.
If any of that happens, you can look forward to court battles and more delays and more negotiations. And sooner or later, I would think that there would be a cancellation of the season. Beyond that, I'm over my head and I may have to recruit Roy to write more lawyer stuff because I'll just end up sounding dumb.
Are we having fun yet?