NBA Players File Antitrust Lawsuit

The professional-basketball labor dispute goes to court. 

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Carmelo Anthony arrives for a players' association meeting. (AP/Seth Wenig)

NBA players filed antitrust complaints in two states today, taking the first step toward resolving the ongoing labor dispute between themselves and owners in the courts.

The plaintiffs in the case include locked-out players Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Leon Powe and Kawhi Leonard. According to the Wall Street Journal, the allegations include that the owners ended the collective bargaining process after Commissioner David Stern issued an ultimatum on the owners' proposal last week, and that "the express purpose of Defendants' group boycott and price fixing is to reduce the salaries, terms, benefits and conditions of employment available in the market for players."

The Associated Press reports:

Attorney David Boies put the blame squarely on the owners, saying players were willing to accept a lower percentage of revenues but owners insisted on more.

"By overplaying their hand, by pushing the players beyond any line of reasonableness, I think they caused this. You don’t give up hundreds of millions of dollars unless you want to make a deal and that's what the players were doing," Boies said. "I think it was mistake to push it as far as they did."

And it could potentially cost them billions.

The players are seeking "treble damages" -- meaning triple the amount of the more than $2 billion they would have made under a full 2011-12 season -- for what they argue is irreparable harm by preventing them from playing in their "very short" NBA careers.

Boies, who represented the NFL during that sport's work stoppage and now has been brought aboard by basketball's players, said the NBA lockout violates antitrust laws by refusing to allow players to work.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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