A new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association is near, according to multiple reports.
In a story published Tuesday, sources with knowledge of the negotiations told The Ringer that both sides hopes to finalize a new CBA before December 15, the opt-out date of the current 10-year CBA. A new CBA could be in place "just after Thanksgiving."
In late October, The Veritcal reported several changes in store for the new CBA.
• The current 36-and-over rule that prohibits players from signing a 5-year maximum contract if their 36th birthday occurs within the life of the deal will "tentatively" be changed to 38.
• The rookie scale, veteran minimum and free agent exception deals will all rise, some as much as 50 percent.
• Two-way contracts with NBA D-League players that would pay them one salary for assignment to the D-League and another when they're called up to the NBA. This will give NBA teams the potential for 16th and 17th roster spots, as well.
Among two things that will not change: Basketball Related Income (BRI) will still be split so that 49 to 51 percent goes to the players. And the one-and-done rule will remain in place to ensure that players are not eligible for the NBA draft until two years after graduating high school.
The Ringer confirmed the aforementioned changes and reported several new ones.
• The preseason will be shorter than the current maximum of 8 games. This could allow the regular season to begin earlier, creating more space in the schedule to minimize back-to-back games and four games in five nights.
• Marijuana will not be permitted, but drug testing will be tweaked to be more convenient for players' schedules.
• Expect a detailed domestic violence policy with consistent punishment guidelines. The exact terms are still not final, but will add resources like counseling, intervention and victim support services. The feeling is that the NBA domestic violence policy must extend beyond fines and suspensions.
• While the BRI split will not change, the definition of BRI will expand to include revenues that had slipped through the cracks previously. The Ringer used an example of luxury suite tickets sold that include to all events at an arena, even NBA games. Now revenue from NBA game nights is counted as BRI.
One item that wasn't mentioned in either report is a new, or "smoothing" approach to introducing money into the league. When the salary cap spiked with money from the NBA's landmark $24 billion TV deal, it created enough room for a team like the Golden State Warriors to sign a max player like Kevin Durant.
The salary cap was created specifically to prevent this kind of clusted of talent in a few markets. It's better from a league and fan perspective to have stars spread throughout the teams.
Silver said as much when discussing the sitation at the annual board of governors meeting. From ESPN:
We all knew all this money was going to come into the system and many of these things could have happened. The fact that it's now in front of us and we're looking at how the money is being paid out and we see a particular player move, yes, without suggesting I'm negotiating, there's no question that those are things that will be discussed in future meetings with the players' association.
The league initially approached the union with a "smoothing" proposal in 2015, but it was rejected. It's unclear what agreement on the issue, if any, has been reached for the new CBA.
A source quoted by the The Ringer noted that Silver and Roberts have a foundation of respect for each other.
“There’s generally a spirit on both sides that the game is healthier, stronger, and they have a really good thing going. It’d be stupid to blow that up.”
It's remarkable to hear that kind of language used to describe a CBA negotiation. First and foremost, it means a lockout is virtually off the table. Professional basketball will continue uninterrupted in America.
More broadly, it signals an attitude of cooperation between the players and their employers. A recognition that more often than not, their interests are aligned.