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Silver hopeful new CBA agreed to by Friday at midnight deadline

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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.

The sides have pushed the deadline back twice, but no more: Friday night at midnight the NBA (on behalf of the owners) and the league’s players’ union will have agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), or either side can opt-out and trigger the first steps toward a summer lockout.

“I certainly can foresee [a CBA] getting done and I hope we do get one done,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday at a press conference following a Board of Governor’s meeting.

However, he added if a new CBA is not in place, the owners planned to opt out of the current one, which would then expire June 30 (and that would become the new, hard deadline to get a new deal in place and avoid a lockout).

NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said the players do not plan to opt-out.

“The March 31st deadline is an important benchmark, and we are doing everything in our power to reach an agreement with the league,” Tremaglio said in a statement. “If we don’t have a deal and the league decides to opt-out, it will be disappointing considering all the work both sides have put into the negotiations, and the fair nature of our requests. As far as our fans are concerned, it will be business as usual. Games will continue uninterrupted.”

The sides agreed early not to negotiate through the media, which has kept talk about roadblocks and what is on the table relatively quiet. However, the configuration of the luxury tax (with a focus on limiting higher-spending teams), a possible mid-season tournament, new veteran contract extension language, a games-played minimum to qualify for the league’s end-of-season awards, and allowing high schoolers to jump straight to the NBA are among the topics known to be having caused some tension. The sides have been in talks for more than a year on a new deal, but it is a complex negotiation as the CBA covers literally every aspect of the NBA’s business.

“Still a lot to go in the next few days,” Silver said. “There’s just something about collective bargaining where deadlines are necessary and seemingly sides tend to hold their best positions until the very end. My sense is this will go down to the very end.”

The last CBA was signed in 2017 and has largely served both sides well as league profits — and with that player salaries — grew. That CBA included the early opt-outs this year and the early deadlines, hoping to avoid a potential work stoppage of any kind. Both sides are hoping to avoid that worst-case scenario.

They have until Friday to meet that first deadline.