Both NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA Executive Director Tamika L. Tremaglio said during All-Star weekend they hoped to have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place before the recently reset March 31 deadline (where either side could opt out).
The sides have made a lot of progress in recent weeks and there is genuine optimism a deal can get done, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. This is a good thing for fans — no summer lockout that could spread into next season — and just smart business by the owners and players. Everyone is making a lot of money, revenues are up, don’t kill the golden goose.
What are the key points the sides are talking about? Here’s what we know, much of with Chrania provides updates on in his report.
• The Luxury Tax. This has been a sticking point for some time. Some owners want more punitive punishment for owners going deep into the luxury tax (although they have abandoned the “upper spending limit”/hard cap idea, fortunately). Talks have focused on raising the luxury tax number — making it harder to get into the tax — and not overly punishing teams just over the line, but increasing the hit on teams deep into the tax. From Charania:
Since everything about these dividing lines is completely up for negotiation in a new CBA, the two sides can redo them to make a small dip into the tax more manageable and then step up the charges for those franchises willing to dive head first into the tax.
That the sides are near a compromise on this issue may be the brightest sign a deal will get worked out.
• The Age Limit. The sides are moving toward making the NBA Draft eligibility age 18 again, allowing players to jump straight from high school to the NBA again — essentially ending the one-and-done rule. What the union — made up of veteran NBA players — is concerned about is the jobs of veteran NBA players. Shocking, isn’t it? From Charania:
“…but sources say the union is pushing for conditions that would facilitate veteran players providing tutelage and orientation to the high schoolers entering the league. The players union wants to maintain the presence of veteran players and not allow newcomers to replace them, especially in the cases of teams with high school prospects who enter the NBA.”
Precisely what that will look like is unclear. However, NBA teams are much better prepared to handle and develop young players this time than they were a couple of decades ago.
• Smoothing in of new revenue. In the next 18 months or so (give or take) a new national television and streaming rights deal will be worked out between the NBA and its broadcast partners, a deal expected to at least double the $2.6 billion a year the league currently gets from Disney/ABC and Turner Sports (TNT). The last time the television deal was signed the entire cap jumped up in one year, giving every team cap room and allowing the Warriors to sign Kevin Durant to a Finals roster. There were also some horrible contracts handed out in 2016 because of it. This time, that revenue increase will be smoothed into the cap over several years, avoiding one massive jump (don’t worry about the players, they will still get all their money).
• Contract extension changes. Expect changes to the contract extension rules that make it easier for teams to re-sign players. Right now, teams can only offer an extension that starts at 120% of the last year of a contract, but if that is a below-market deal — think Kyle Kuzma right now, in his breakout year — it means he has to become a free agent even if he wants to re-sign with his current team. That jump may be increased to 150% or more, giving teams some flexibility to keep players.