Players come up with CBA plan that sparks discussion

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Don’t jump the gun – there is hope of avoiding a lockout and the owners and players are still a long way away from a deal.

But last week the owners and players sat down and made a little progress toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The word “hopeful” got thrown around.

Now we may know why.

Reportedly the progress was sparked by the latest offer from the players to the owners, an offer that made some givebacks now in promise of future revenue, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge.

According to sources, the players have expressed a willingness to at least look at some meaningful reductions in overall salaries. But in exchange, the union wants mechanisms that would allow players to recoup some of their losses if the NBA continues on its upward track. One possible way would be to split any future monies above and beyond the current $4.3 billion in annual revenues at something approaching the current 57-43 take in the players’ favor. For example, if revenues grew over the course of a new five-year CBA to, say, $5 billion, the union would get 57 percent of the new $700 million created. Such a system would incentivize both sides to grow the pot and create more cheddar for everyone. But it’s not known how receptive the league was to the idea.

The number that matters is the BRI — Basketball Related Income. That is money from ticket sales, luxury boxes, local and national television contracts — nearly everything you can think of related to basketball.

Right now the players get 57 percent of that income through salaries, the owners 43 percent. The owners want a larger slice of that pie. All the talk of hard cap, guaranteed contracts and amnesty clauses all pales in comparison to how big a slice of the revenue they get.

The players have made an offer that at least has the sides in serious discussions, which will continue this week in Dallas. It’s a start.