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Even if players do go forward with decertification, their chances of success in the courtroom could be harmed by their football brethren’s experience there this summer. A federal judge in St. Paul, Minn., initially ruled that the NFL union’s antitrust case had merit and issued an injunction that forced the league to lift the lockout.

But that ruling was overturned on appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court in St. Louis, and the two sides came to agreement on a new deal in July after losing only one preseason game.

“Given what happened over the summer with the NFL players, the NBA players have an uphill battle toward getting the lockout (lifted),” Scupp said.

The NBA already has filed a lawsuit seeking to retain their non-statutory labor exemption even if the players dissolve the union. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe did not immediately issue a ruling when the two sides met in court this week.

One person with knowledge of the league’s thinking said that decertification wasn’t an immediate concern because of the long-term impact it would have on the negotiation process.

“If they’ve decided to do that,” the person said, “they’ve decided to lose the whole season.”


AP Sports Writers Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis, Tim Reynolds in Miami and freelance writer Chris Adamski in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.