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Owners, Players Seek Entirely New Labor Deal

The NBA and the players union want to make significant progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement by December 15th, 2016, the deadline that either side has to inform the other that it wants to exercise its mutual option after the 2016/17 season, reports Ken Berger of The owners and players want to have a new deal that would replace the current agreement, which runs through 2020/21. The league and the union held preliminary talks earlier this month.

Dissatisfaction exists with the current system among small-market teams that don’t like the imbalance of local broadcast revenue that funnels more money to large markets and helps them pay the tax, Berger writes. Spending on mid-tier players is a potential source of friction on the players’ side, Berger says, though the existing system would make the mid-level exception progressively less valuable.

Players risk the league going after a hard cap and limits on guaranteed salary if they opt out of the current deal, as Berger notes, echoing remarks commissioner Adam Silver made in the spring as well as in October. Union executive director Michele Roberts has signaled at times that she’ll be aggressive in negotiations with the league, though both Roberts and Silver are approaching their first major labor talks since assuming their respective positions.

The influx of money from the league’s recent $24 billion TV deal has distorted some of the proportions the league and the players intended when they negotiated the last deal in 2011, as Berger details. Annual league revenues have climbed from $3.8 billion in 2011 to nearly $5 billion and are projected to jump to around $6 billion next year, Berger reports. The drastically rising salary cap has prompted more teams to venture into luxury tax territory this season, with eight above the tax line at this point, Berger points out, noting its negative effect on competitive balance.

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