Lowe’s Latest: Lockout, TV Deal, Salary Cap

We’re keeping track of today’s latest on the league’s landmark TV deal in the post linked here, but the latest dispatch from Grantland’s Zach Lowe contains enough news that it makes sense to highlight it by itself. The entire piece is worth reading if you want to wrap your head around the true, broad-reaching effects of the influx of new cash, but we’ll hit the most noteworthy parts here:

  • Commissioner Adam Silver has begun trying to convince owners not to lock out players in 2017, Lowe reports. Former commish David Stern didn’t have a tight grip on a new wave of more financially motivated owners around the league, but that same group likes Silver, according to Lowe. Still, players are “furious” about the increase in league revenues not long after the latest collective bargaining agreement reduced the players’ share of revenues from 57% to 50% when it took effect, Lowe writes.
  • In 2011, the union proposed allowing players to receive a cut when an NBA team is sold, but the league quickly torpedoed the idea and would rather have engaged in an even lengthier lockout than concede on that issue, as Lowe details.
  • The plan for now is for ABC/ESPN and Time Warner to pay a combined $2.1 billion in 2016/17, with gradual yearly raises that bring the rights fees to $3.1 billion in 2024/25, the final year of the deal, sources tell Lowe.
  • Executives from some teams have advanced the idea of inserting extra money into existing player contracts that cover seasons in which the league will be receiving the new TV revenue, Lowe also hears.
  • The league would like to have a plan for phasing in increases to the salary cap and an update to the existing $66.5MM cap projection for 2015/16 ready by the end of the Board of Governors meeting later this month, Lowe reports. Still, the Grantland scribe believes that such a deadline will be difficult to meet.

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