The NBA Players Association stepped up lockout fever a notch on Tuesday as the union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, effectively seeking an injunction against a potential lockout decision by the league on July 1, reports ESPN's Chris Sheridan. The union alleges in the complaint that the NBA has been negotiating in bad faith as the sides try to make up ground on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Last month, union head Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers complained that the NBA had essentially re-submitted a previously dismissed proposal in returning to the bargaining table. The NBA is pushing for a hard cap of $45 million, substantially lower than the flexible $59 million cap of this season. The newer league proposal would phase the hard cap in over three seasons to give time for players and teams to adjust.
The players aren't having it, and have repeatedly called into question the league's numbers, which indicate some two-thirds of the NBA's teams lose money. The union has said it's willing to negotiate the share of revenue players are due -- that level is currently 57 percent; this figure helps set the salary cap, which sets maximum salaries, minimum salaries and more -- but that a hard cap is a no-go.
Tuesday's filing raises the stakes just a bit. As Sheridan notes, the NBA's referee union also filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the NLRB in advance of their negotiations on a new deal. Two years ago, the NBA and refs went down to the wire -- well into preseason -- before reaching an agreement.