David Boies Rumors
With those dynamics in mind, the talks take the form of a legal settlement as opposed to a collective bargaining resolution — with many of the same participants still involved but some new faces, too. The players’ lead attorney in the antitrust action, David Boies, has teamed with former NBPA lead outside counsel Jim Quinn in an effort to push the deal across the finish line. Multiple people connected to the talks have told CBSSports.com that the discussions could move quickly towards a deal after the momentum gained in the past week from back-channel talks spearheaded by Quinn, who was a key figure in ending the 1998-99 lockout. But one person in frequent contact with ownership cautioned that it may take the entire weekend to find common ground, adding that there “could be some anxiety” in the room Friday.
However, Boies said, it’s not his place to make the first call to the NBA for “settlement discussions.’’ The NBA has until Dec. 5 to answer the lawsuit and a source said the league hasn’t even identified its attorneys.
Steve Aschburner: NBA responds to players’ attorney Boies re: “waste of time” to initiate settlement talks: “Mr. Boies is wrong. As the union knows we’re very receptive to negotiations without regard to who places the call. In other words, NBA hasn’t picked up phone either. But “receptive” to settlement talks. Or at least talks about talks. Now, anyway.
People want to know when this thing will be settled, and they are growing impatient. Boise again made the point about the league’s public statement, and I countered by saying that was merely posturing for public consumption. Sheridan: “That was spin. If you call Mishkin, you can talk turkey. Boies: “I don’t have that sense, but … (13 second pause) … I suppose it couldn’t hurt for me to call him. You know, I suppose it couldn’t hurt for me to call him. Ask me that Wednesday.
Sheridan: “If I may play devil’s advocate, wouldn’t that speed up the process more than filing a new lawsuit?” Boise: “Only if they want to talk. I could make all the calls in the world … “ Sheridan: “But you haven’t.” Boise: “And the reason I haven’t is because of that statement (the public statement made by the NBA) and the statements they made to Billy. And in the face of someone saying ‘I don’t want to talk to you, we’ve got an offer, take it or leave it, this is the ultimatum, we’re going to make no more proposals, and somebody saying this is baseless, it ought to go away,’ that’s a waste of time for someone to make a telephone call.”
Sheridan: “Why not call them?” Boise: “Billy tried, Billy could tell you how long he tried to get them to negotiate. Frankly, if instead of getting a response that said ‘This is baseless litigation and it ought to go away,’ if they recognized the interest in the game and the interest of the fans, I’d give them a call right now if I had someone to call. If they had the same attitude that we told you six days ago, that this is a lawsuit that ought to be resolved, if that was their attitude, too, I’d be happy to give them a call. If we’re standing on ceremony, if this is a question of who calls whom, I don’t have any problem with being the person that makes the first call. But to call in the face of the kind of treatment that Billy and his people got, and the kind of treatment that is evidenced by the statement they just put out, there isn’t any case in making a call.”
“I suspect that we will hear from them, either in settlement discussions or litigation. They are going to have to answer the complaint, and were looking forward to engaging them,” Boies said. ”If this is a matter that can be settled, we’re prepared to do that. If the league’s approach is to ignore this litigation and try to go into a state of denial and hope it goes away, I think that will be not in anyone’s interest.”
And after obfuscating and posturing for the better part of an hour in a meeting with reporters Monday night, Boies finally yielded to the relentless logical questioning of yours truly, put his hands to his temples for 13 seconds and then said he may just go ahead and make that phone call sometime in the next day or two. “Some lawyers say to pick up the phone is a sign of weakness,” Boies said. “But if you’re weak, you’re weak, and if you’re strong, you’re strong. It doesn’t make you weak or strong by your calling or not calling. On the other hand, until they’re prepared to say something other than what they just put out in this statement, the question is, why are you calling?”
Chris Sheridan: Speaking afterward, Boise conceded that picking up the phone first wouldn’t necessarily be the worst idea. Perhaps by Wednesday, he said.
Chris Sheridan: Boies is wrapping. Not one ounce of conciliatory talk. Lawyerly rhetorical posturing at its best. (Boise charges $1,225 per hour, FWIW).
Yet another twist in the NBA lockout, that reached Day 144 on Monday. “We filed a consolidated complaint that will include the plaintiffs and laywers who filed in Minnesota,” players attorney David Boies said Monday night. “The point is to expedite this and move it along. … If we had not done this, the courts would have.”
The plaintiffs in Carmelo Anthony et al v. the NBA et al filed a voluntary notice of dismissal of the complaint without prejudice Monday in Northern California’s U.S. District Court and will join up with the other player lawsuit filed last week in Minnesota. “Without prejudice” allows the plaintiffs to refile, Toledo law professor and sports law expert Geoffrey Rapp said.
Jeff Zillgitt: David Boies: “They’ve made pretty clear they have no interest in talking to us. … I thought this was a case we ought to try and resolve.”
Jeff Zillgitt: David Boies: “We have worked over the last few days with the lawyers who filed the case in Minnesota.”