Billy Hunter Expects NBA Antitrust Case to Be Mediated First

Consolidating the lawsuit in Minnesota should make it easier to mediate.

Posted: 11/23/2011 03:04 PM EST
Billy Hunter

NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter seems to think the antitrust lawsuit against the owners will play out in front of a Minnesota magistrate judge just like the NFL’s labor dispute did.


Hunter specifically mentioned U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan while talking with reporters.


According to the AP:


Hunter specifically mentioned U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, the court-appointed mediator in the NFL talks. Boylan is not the magistrate assigned to the NBA antitrust suit, although the district judge has the discretion to appoint a different magistrate to mediate.


"What may very well be is the judge there directs the magistrate, as they did in the [NFL Players Association] case, to host a settlement conference, and that could possibly occur as early as next week," Hunter said.


If Boylan’s name sounds familiar it’s because he mediated the NFL lockout mess this summer.


Hunter reached this expectation Tuesday, a day after the players withdrew an antitrust lawsuit filing in California and decided to consolidate their efforts to just Minnesota. Initially the players filed suits in both states.


Now both sides can have one magistrate in one state helping the two sides negotiate a deal to end the lockout that began July 1. Games have already been canceled to Dec. 15 and the entire 2011-12 season could be in jeopardy if this case goes to trial.


Contact Terrance Harris at or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

(Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)