NBA Owners and Players Strike New Collective Bargaining Agreement
On Wednesday night, the NBA and NBA Players Association announced in a joint statement that the two sides have tentatively come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Team owners and players still have to ratify the agreement, and the sides agreed to extend the deadline to do so from Thursday until January 13th. That will allow all parties involved enough time to review and understand the terms of the new deal.
The new pact will be a seven-year agreement with an opt-out available to either side after the sixth year. As a result, the new CBA will remain in place until 2022 at the earliest.
Specific terms of the deal have yet to be announced, but a variety of news outlets have already been leaked some details.
What changes are in store?
The new agreement includes raises in the values of rookie-scale, bi-annual exception, mid-level exception and veteran’s minimum contracts. ESPN says that the average salary for a player is expected to jump from about $5 million to around $9 million in the coming years.
The NBA has been vocal about its desire to prevent more “super team” scenarios such as the current outfit in Golden State. As a result, the new CBA will include longer and more incentivized deals that figure to give franchises a greater chance at retaining their own star players.
The teams will be able to offer certain players contract extensions of five or six seasons, which is up from the four-year maximum under the current agreement. That means that a team like the Indiana Pacers can offer Paul George substantially more by way of salary and guaranteed years than any other team.
Another tweak to the current deal is that roster sizes will expand from 15 players to 17. The extra two roster slots will be available for “two-way players”, meaning guys teams will send back-and-forth between the NBA club and an NBA Developmental League team. The player will earn more when he’s with the NBA team, and about $75,000 during his time with a D-League team. The NHL uses a similar system.
What will remain the same?
Several aspects of the current deal will remain the same, however. The league and players have agreed to table the controversial age limit clause that stipulates that any American player must be one year out of high school before he can become eligible to enter the NBA Draft.
The split of basketball-related income (BRI) will also stay the same. Players will earn 49 percent of the pie, while owners claim 51 percent.
There will also be no amnesty clause under the new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides agreed to insert an amnesty clause the last time they created a new CBA, which allowed teams to release one player at no salary cap penalty during the duration of the agreement. The team would still owe that player the remainder of his money, but it would not count against the salary cap.
The two sides overwhelmingly voted against the amnesty clause this time around, due to the fact that most parties were not interested in allowing other teams a potential escape clause on a regrettable contract.
The schedule will also be tweaked. In an effort to eliminate teams from having to play in back-to-back situations, the league will cut some preseason games from the schedule and start the regular season about a week sooner than it has in the past. That means the regular season figures to start around October 17/18 rather than around Halloween.
Avoiding a lockout
This is all welcome news considering the last time the NBA faced a labor dispute, the owners wound up locking the players out. The two sides were mired in an ugly dispute that cost the league the first two months of the regular season back in 2011. Once a deal was struck by late November, regular season play didn’t get underway until Christmas and the regular season was shortened to 66 games.
The league is in a golden era right now, though, especially with a new television deal worth an estimated $24 billion that just went into effect this season. Another lockout would have severely hindered the growth the NBA has enjoyed in recent years, and neither side wanted the disruption of another labor battle.
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