Tag: mid-level exception

National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern, speaks after taking part in contract negotiations between NBA and players association in New York

Report: Owners could be open to minor system tweaks


If the owners and players sit down and talk before Wednesday’s deadline set by David Stern, the owners might be willing to make some tweaks to the system they have laid out.

The system has been part of the issue. Union president Derek Fisher has suggested he is willing to move more on split of league revenue (the union’s last offer was 51 percent to the players, down from 57 percent before, the owners want essentially 50/50), but they wanted concessions to keep the player movement and team spending system closer to what was in the last labor deal. The owners want both the money and system changes.

But apparently they’ll listen, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

As one ownership source told Yahoo! Sports on Monday night, “If there were a couple of tweaks needed around the edges – not fundamental deal points – I believe there could be a deal if everything else is agreed upon. But there needs to be a meeting with David and Billy for anything to happen.”

There has been talk of such a meeting, but nothing has yet been set. Which is ludicrous really, but then again this whole lockout has gotten ludicrous.

The system changes the players want would benefit the highest-spending teams — allowing teams paying the luxury tax to use sign-and-trade deals and have a full mid-level exception to use. In the past, teams like the Lakers and Mavericks — big spenders — have used the mid-level to bring in good role players to go around their stars. The sign-and-trade is a different matter, according to Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated that has barely ever been used by tax-paying teams (five times total in the last six years, and Shawn Marion to the Mavs from Toronto is the only example you might recall, the rest were almost pure salary dumps). The sign-and-trades that seemed to freak out owners (LeBron James to Miami, Chris Bosh to Miami, Carlos Boozer to Chicago) would not be impacted because those teams were under the salary cap at the time.

All that said, talking system tweaks is moot if the two sides are not talking.

Report: Good news, the league and players agree on some things! Only, like, three, but still!


One of the things that Adam Silver and Peter Holt said at their press conference Thursday, in-between explaining their completely ridiculous obstinacy regarding the 50/50 split and looking like someone stole their 1992 Alonzo Mourning rookie card (I will never forgive that kid), is that federal mediator George Cohen starts his sessions by getting both sides to state the little things they agree on. It’s a baby-step kind of process. It shows you’re not completely and totally diametrically opposed at this point in the negotiation.

From the New York Times, we’ve learned a little bit about what it is that they’ve agreed upon. They’re things which will have a huge impact on how the league is run, even if both sides consider them microscopic compared to the big issues that lie ahead.

¶ There will be a one-time “amnesty” provision that will allow each team to waive a player (with pay) without his salary counting against the salary cap.

¶ There will be a “stretch” exception, available every year, allowing teams to waive players and stretch out their remaining salary over a number of seasons, thus reducing the annual salary-cap hit.

¶ The midlevel exception will be set around $5 million, a decrease of $800,000, but more than double what the owners were seeking.

via With N.B.A. Talks Halted, Sides Predict a Meeting Next Week – NYTimes.com.

The stretch exception is the biggest piece out of that. It means that owners will be able to get out of those terrible contracts that they give out. It also means that you’re going to see players making money from several teams in a season. That happens now, but it will increase. This could really help teams in the rebuilding process. If you’re laden with a huge contract you whiffed on, say… whatever the Blazers do next. The Blazers could then dump the player and stretch out the salary over a longer period of time, freeing them to overpay for someone else in the next free agency. Think of all the players the Blazers can overpay for!

In all seriousness, these measures provide a backbone for what the new league is going to look like. You know, eventually. When we have a season. If ever.

I’m going to go back to crying in this bottle now.

Report: NBA owners, players close to deal on mid-level exception

NBA And Player's Association Meet To Negotiate CBA

It’s progress. Not on the core issue that will bring us labor peace, but it’s progress. Right now, we’re not going to look askew at any sign of progress.

The NBA owners and players are very close to a deal on a reduced mid-level exception going forward, reports David Aldridge at NBA.com.

… a source who has been briefed on the discussions between the two sides said Monday afternoon that the sides are close to an agreement on one “system” aspect that has proven troublesome — a new, shorter mid-level exception for free agents.

This is a good thing — the players wanted some form of the MLE because it is good for the league’s middle class. It also may be the most abused of the exceptions, with teams making some horrible decisions to use it every year then being stuck with the consequences. An MLE that is shorter in length (it had a been a five-year max) and for less money works for both sides.

It’s progress.

It’s also a side dish, not the main course.

Until the two sides get anywhere on the split of basketball related income, it’s hard to be hopeful about anything. But at least they figured something out during five hours talking Sunday.

Winderman: The mid-level exception battleground — do you want two Jason Kaponos?

Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout
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How generous of the players’ union, offering to include not one but two mid-level exceptions in their latest collective-bargaining proposal.

Chuckle first, then recognize you can never have too many Jason Kaponos.

Of all the dollars and nonsense to come out of the back and forth between the league and the union as the current CBA draws to a June 30 close, this latest twist is one that makes you scratch your head.

Yes, there still is a place for the proper mid-level contract. Just ask the Lakers and Ron Artest or the Trail Blazers and Wesley Matthews.

Such revelations, though, are the exception. The mid-level, especially at its five-year maximum, is considered among league executives to be the worst of any contract.

The owners are never going for this one. The union has to know as much.

But, for a moment, consider the possibilities, consider the Heat being able to land both a center and a point guard next summer. It is a prospect for the rest of the league as frightening as the full, five-year, $35 million mid-level package the Bucks gave Drew Gooden this past summer.

A $5.8 million contract is a dangerous thing in the NBA, even though it is calculated as the average salary.

As Bill Veeck once put it, “It isn’t really the stars that are expensive. It’s the high cost of mediocrity.”

A history lesson of the mid-level delivers stark evidence, with the Mid-Level Hall of Fame including the likes of Jerome James, Nazr Mohammed, Jared Jeffries and Michael Olowokandi.

Even those with curb appeal tended to get the deal after they had been kicked to the curb by others, such as Anthony Mason, James Posey, Brian Cardinal and Joe Smith (twice).

This is not a league about average, it is a league about highly paid stars and willing, lowly paid supporting players.

Of course, the union also has expressed a willingness to eliminate the bi-annual exception, one that currently starts at $2 million and actually has a place in the league’s personnel economy.

As for the union willing to lower the maximum term of the mid-level from five seasons to four, don’t think the Bucks will take much solace out of that even in year four of Gooden’s current deal.

The age limit might be abolished.

A hard cap may be on the way.

A lockout is a distinct possibility.

But dual mid-level exceptions? About as good a chance of happening as the Kings and Nets meeting in the NBA Finals.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

NBA salary cap to increase next year. Which sadly means a lockout is more likely.


Thumbnail image for stern_Hunter.jpgBusiness is good in the NBA. No. Seriously.

The NBA released the salary cap numbers for next season and after all the reports of doom and gloom the numbers are going up for next season.

The salary cap will be $58.044 million next season, making the luxury tax threshold $70.307 million (for every $1 in salary over the luxury tax line, teams pay $1 in tax). That is well above the $50 million cap figure some teams feared for about a year ago.

The mid-level exception will be $5.765 million. By my estimation, the max contract for a Bird-rights player in the league seven years or more (a team keeping a player, like Joe Johnson in Atlanta) will be $127 million for six years. Non Bird-rights players (like Amare Stoudemire in New York) will work out to about $99 million for five years. The max deal for younger players (like Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City) is $87.7 million for five years.

Those numbers are all up from last year — because basketball revenue was up slightly last year from the year before. The salary cap is based on the “basketball related income” for the teams and league.

So we are seeing teams come out of a recession, it’s all good, right? The teams are spending like that right now, it seems. So all those lockout fears are overblown, right?

Wrong. It’s worse.

The owners still want to change the economic structure of the game. They do not like the soft cap and its seemingly endless parade of exceptions.

Why? Well, I’d argue it’s because they can’t restrain themselves from overspending. They have no self-control, look at this off-season. Only a few owners show discipline. And when only a few do, they get outspent and their teams lose out on players, then they lose on the court. Right now Oklahoma City gets credit for doing it all right, but they are not a huge market, and they just gave a max deal to Durant. What happens when they need to pay Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the rest of the team bigger money, too. And everyone is telling them to get the one free agent that puts them over the top. Then are they disciplined?

But back to the point at hand, the owners are going to push hard for a new system. Maybe a hard salary cap, certainly more punitive measures for teams that keep spending well above the cap (sliding luxury tax scale?). And they will want to negotiate salaries down, shorten contract lengths and make deals non-guaranteed (again, to cover their own mistakes of bad deals).

The players now have ammunition to call them on this. The economic system must be just fine if the teams’ income rose last year despite the national recession. And by looking at the way they are spending. The players are not going to buy the economic hardship the owners are selling.

And that, my friends, means a lockout is more likely, not less.

And that is good for nobody.