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Draymond Green on new NBA CBA: ‘Players lose again... Smh!’

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Kurt Helin and Corey Robinson detail how the new CBA will impact the NBA, including the inception of a new mid-season tournament, changes made to award eligibility, and alterations to the luxury tax and payroll spending.

If the sign of a fair compromise is not everyone is happy, then maybe the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) qualifies.

While reaction to the deal has been relatively muted, one voice came through loudly: Draymond Green is no fan of the new CBA, partly because he could be directly impacted by it this summer.

What Green objects to is the “second apron,” a new addition to the CBA that ties the hands of teams $17.5 million over the luxury tax — which the Warriors already are for next season, and that is before Green decides on opting out of the $27.6 million he is owed and negotiating an extension (or becoming a free agent). Teams over that second apron forfeit the rights to things that might help them to keep spending on a competitive roster (they lose the right to the mid-level exception, they can’t tap the buyout market, and they can’t bring back more in a trade than they send out, for example).

(It should be noted that it’s unclear how this might or might not impact Green, features such as this are being phased in with the new CBA and we don’t have the details on what that looks like, yet.)

The NBA’s counter to that argument is twofold. First, more money is coming in for players. For example, for the first time league licensing revenue will count towards Basketball Related Income (BRI) to be split with the players. That is expected to be about $160 million next season. Second, teams below the tax line (and below the salary cap) will get expanded opportunities in free agency or generate larger trade exceptions (as an incentive to spend more).

Green’s point is that if those owners wanted to spend more, they could. They choose not to, and now the league has tied the hands of the few owners who do.

The trick of making the CBA fair to both the league’s biggest stars and highest earners — such as Green — and the league’s “middle class” of players has always been a delicate dance.

This second apron is because of a push from some owners. Today’s NBA owners are seeing rapid changes — in their franchise valuations, the amount of money leagues generate flowing into them, and the financial expectations upon them. It’s not just the cost of players that is going up (that money is locked in, with the players and owners splitting the BRI roughly 50/50), it’s also the costs of things like a new practice facility, staffing costs and more. Keeping up with the Jones of other owners is a challenge, especially when those owners can spend like the Clippers’ Steve Ballmer or the Warriors ownership group.

It may be too early to tell how this CBA will impact the players overall. However, we can see how it might impact Green, who some observers around the league thought was the guy standing without a chair when the music stopped after the Warriors extended Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole last summer.