By TIM REYNOLDS (AP Basketball Writer)
The most financially successful era in NBA history will continue uninterrupted for at least six years, after the league and its players reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement to take effect this summer.
It took more than a year of negotiations, with intensity and expectations growing in recent days, and the handshake deal was reached in the early hours of Saturday morning – shortly after the league had the intends to notify the National Basketball Players Association of its intention to opt out of the current CBA on June 30.
Instead, a deal was struck, at least in principle. “The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, pending ratification by players and team governors,” was the league’s only comment, shortly before 3 a.m. morning, Eastern time.
Technically, it will be a seven-year deal, although either side can opt out a year early, meaning labor peace is only assured in the 2028-29 season. It will also usher in the era of an in-season tournament, which commissioner Adam Silver has wanted for years.
Unless the current plan changes, teams will receive an 80-game schedule for next season in August. Those 80 games will include “tournament” games — likely four — that will count towards the regular season standings. All teams will eventually have two additional games added to their schedules so that the full 82-game slate is played; the two teams that qualify for the tournament final will play an 83rd match that will not count in the standings.
Among other details, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press: players will typically need to appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for top individual awards such as Most Valuable Player; the maximum value of contract extensions will increase; and a third two-way contract will now be available to teams – which could potentially see the roster size increase from 17 to 18. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the National Basketball Players Association have released public details.
Another new part of the CBA will be a second luxury tax tier that, once achieved, will prevent teams from using their mid-tier exception to sign players. It was a clear compromise, given that some teams wanted the so-called “upper spending limit” which would have essentially installed an absolute cap on what can be spent each season and would help level the playing field between teams that are ready to pay a lot. tax bills – like defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors – and those who aren’t.
“Players are losing again…Teams in the middle and lower spectrum aren’t spending because they don’t want to,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said on Twitter. “They want to lose. So increase their spending capacity, just to increase it. They keep cutting the middle. And that’s why we rushed into a deal? “
National Basketball Players Association president CJ McCollum, goaltender for the New Orleans Pelicans, said he welcomes feedback from all players, but stressed, “You can’t make everyone happy. It’s impossible.
“You have to be able to do what’s best for the collective,” McCollum said after the Pelicans defeated the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. “There are 450 players and 450 different opinions, including myself. … It’s about finding a happy medium in certain areas.
The ABC News will not include a return to the policy that would allow high school players to enter the NBA draft. This has been discussed and has been an item on the agenda for months, but the rule won’t change any time soon – probably not until at least the duration of the next CBA.
“We also appreciate that there’s a lot of upside to really having veterans who can take these 18-year-olds along,” NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said in February at a press conference. the NBPA during All-Star weekend. “And so certainly anything that we would even consider, to be quite honest, would have to include an element that would allow veterans to be a part of that as well.”
Silver said Wednesday, after a two-day meeting of the Board of Governors, that he hoped to conclude a deal by the weekend – a clearly positive sign. The current CBA, which went into effect July 1, 2017, included a mutual option for the NBA or NBPA to opt out after six seasons, on June 30 of this year.
Saturday’s agreement does not end the process, although it is obviously a huge step forward.
Owners will have to vote on what the negotiators have reached, and players will also have to vote to approve the deal. Next comes the actual writing of the document – the most recent recorded CBA at around 600 pages containing nearly 5,000 paragraphs and 200,000 words. Much will be the same; much of it will need to be revised.
And while those talks lasted more than a year, this is the second CBA in a row to be negotiated without the dysfunction that accompanied the talks in 2011 – when the league ended up locking players for 161 days and a eventually had to shorten the 2011-12 season from 82 to 66 games.
There was no appetite for a work stoppage, not after a 2021-22 season in which NBA revenue topped $10 billion for the first time and basketball-related revenue hit $8.9 billion, another record. Silver said the NBA is on pace this season for more sold-out games than ever before.
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