SALT LAKE CITY — Surprising news about the NBA filing both a federal lawsuit and an unfair labor practice charge against the players' union included an even more shocking tidbit.
The NBA is also suing Jimmer Fredette.
The NBA's class-action claim listed the former BYU star — and to-be Sacramento Kings rookie — as a defendant along with National Basketball Players Association representatives and executive committee members.
Golden State rookie Charles Jenkins, the 44th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, was also listed in the lawsuit with Fredette, USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt first reported on Twitter. Other NBA players listed include Chris Paul, Derek Fisher and Amar'e Stoudemire. Jazz Basketball Investors, Inc., is listed as one of the suit's plaintiffs.
The NBA filed the claims this morning, a day after the first negotiations between owners and players in a month failed to bring the sides closer to finding common ground on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The NBA's unfair labor practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board counters one previously filed by the NBPA and asserts that the players association "has failed to bargain in good faith by virtue of its unlawful threats to commence a sham 'decertification' and an antitrust lawsuit challenging the NBA's lockout," according to a league statement.
In a bigger bombshell, the league filed a federal lawsuit in an effort "to establish, among others things, that the NBA's lockout does not violate federal antitrust laws and that if the Players Association's 'decertification' were found to be lawful, all existing player contracts would become void and unenforceable."
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the 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."
Silver, also the NBA's COO, added, "For the parties to reach agreement on a new CBA, the union must commit to the collective bargaining process fully and in good faith."
Hours after the claims were filed, the NBPA released this statement from executive director William Hunter: "The litigation tactics of the NBA today are just another example of their bad faith bargaining and we will seek the complete dismissal of the actions as they are totally without merit. The NBA Players Association has not made any decision to disclaim its role as the collective bargaining representative of the players and has been engaged in good faith bargaining with the NBA for over two years. We urge the NBA to engage with us at the bargaining table and to use more productively the short time we have left before the 2011-12 season is seriously jeopardized."
Listed as James Fredette in the official claim, the sharpshooter and Jenkins were named among defendants because they are from New York, according to Tom Ziller of SacTownRoyalty.com
Wrote Ziller: "The suit was filed in New York and the NBA needed to make sure New York residents not under NBA contract were included in the suit."
The class action complaint can be read in its entirety here.
Keyon Dooling, James Jones, Matt Bonner, Maurice Evans, Roger Mason, Jr., Theo Ratliff, Etan Thomas and Mike Dunleavy are the only other players whose names are specifically listed as defendants. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
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