Photo by Noel Vasquez | Getty Images

The preemptive strikes have already begun during the current NBA lockout, as the NBA filed two legal claims yesterday against the National Basketball Players Association, citing “unfair labor practice” and the claim that the NBA’s lockout does not violate federal antitrust laws.

The two claims, filed before the National Labor Relations Board and a federal court, respectively, are acting as a preliminary measure to protect the NBA from a possible antitrust lawsuit that the NBPA may file in the pattern following the NFL lockout and NFLPA just months ago. According to the NBA press release from earlier on Tuesday:

The unfair labor practice charge asserts that the Players Association has failed to bargain in good faith by virtue of its unlawful threats to commence a sham “decertification”…

The federal lawsuit filed in New York on Tuesday looks to establish that the NBA lockout does not violate federal antitrust laws, allowing the NBA to void all existing player contracts if the Players Association’s decertification was to be found lawful:

“These claims were filed in an effort to eliminate the use of impermissible pressure tactics by the union which are impeding the parties’ ability to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Adam Silver. “For the parties to reach agreement on a new CBA, the union must commit to the collective bargaining process fully and in good faith.”

When asked the question as to if the NBPA was bargaining in good faith, Commissioner David Stern paused for an extended time, staring off camera before delivering a terse “I would say not”.

Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter countered Silver’s charge, stating that the NBA’s claims were “just another example of their bad faith bargaining.” Hunter noted that the Player’s Association would seek dismissal of the claims.