Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. (Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
In what appears to be a strategic move, the NBA players have withdrawn their antitrust lawsuit against the owners in California and moved all proceedings to Minnesota.
The players made the shift Monday, withdrawing the class action lawsuit in California while filing an amendment to its federal lawsuit in Minnesota that now includes Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash and Kevin Durant among the list of plaintiffs, according to an Associated Press report. Last week the players filed antitrust lawsuits in both California and Minnesota.
The reasons for the consolidation seem to be based on the belief the case will be heard faster in Minnesota and that the state also has a track record for ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in previous NFL antitrust lawsuit cases.
"The docket is less congested there," players’ lawyer David Boies told the AP. "They have a good track record of handling these kind of cases very promptly."
The players are fighting for their right to return to work, saying the owners are preventing them from doing that. They have been locked out since July 1 as the owners try to force the players to take a substantial reduction in the split of the basketball related income revenue. The owners also want a more restrictive salary cap.
Last week, negotiations broke down after the two sides could not come to an agreement and the season was canceled through Dec. 15. The players union then moved to disband so that players could sue the league in federal antitrust court. There is growing concern that at some point in the next 30 days the owners will cancel the entire 2011–12 season.
"This is consistent with Mr. Boies' inappropriate shopping for a forum that he can only hope will be friendlier to his baseless legal claims," Rick Buchanan, NBA executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.