The last NBA lockout in 2011 — which almost cost the league a season and ended up shortening it by 16 games, pushing the start date back — was all about money. The players had been getting 57 percent of the league’s “Basketball Related Income” (BRI) and the owners drew a hard-line trying even that up. The owners won, pushing the split back to a roughly 50-50 (it’s complicated).
This time around, the two sides agreed early on that the current 50-50 split would stay, and that has the sped up negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to the point the sides are on the brink of a new deal before either side even opted out of the old one, reports Jon Krawczynski and Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
The NBA and its players have agreed that the next CBA will include new league-funded programs to help retired players with education and medical expenses, four people with knowledge of the situation told the AP. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.
In exchange for those programs, and pending full approval from both sides, the split of basketball-related income would remain the same “50-50” deal as it is in the current agreement.
Those programs for former players are something LeBron James said was important, more important to him and others than trying to get some percentage of BRI back and drag out the talks.
“We got a group of guys that are in there that know the negotiations, so any way to give back and try to help our former teammates and help former players and things of that nature,” James said. “Because we’ve all built this league together. No matter how big of a guy you were or if you were the 15th guy on the bench, we all built this league into what it is today. But it’s not just my idea. I’m not taking any credit for that. But it’s all part of the process.”