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What happens next for NBA players?

The NBA Players Union notified the NBA that it formally terminated its right to represent the players, known as a disclaimer of interest. Unlike decertification, which requires a petition from 30 percent of the union's membership, the union does not need approval of the National Labor Relations Board to begin this process.

By disclaiming, the players give up their rights to collectively bargain under labor law and instead will transform from a union to a trade association. The players will be represented by lawyers, led by Jeffrey Kessler and David Boies (with union executive director Billy Hunter also in the mix), in antitrust litigation.

Kessler and Boies will counsel the players over the next day or so to decide what step to take. The players can immediately begin to file antitrust lawsuits against NBA owners to seek treble damages -- three times the amount of their actual damages (i.e.: lost salary) -- as a result of the ongoing lockout.

These lawsuits could be filed in New York, but considering that the NBA office is in Manhattan and the league already has a federal lawsuit against the NBPA in courts here, the players may choose to go elsewhere with the proceedings, as the NFL did in Minneapolis with the Tom Brady vs. NFL lawsuit in March.

There is hope on the players' side that owners will react to the onslaught of litigation -- and the time and cost of a legal battle -- and ask to return to the negotiating table to work out a better deal for a new CBA (which would require re-forming the union) to save the season.

New York Sports