The union is advising free agents to structure their new contracts so they’ll receive their paychecks for the 2016/17 season over 18 months to keep money coming during a possible work stoppage, reports Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News (Twitter link). A memo the union sent to its members cites the continued revenue that league received from networks during the last lockout in urging the players to keep their own income flowing, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
Such an altered payment schedule wouldn’t have an effect on team salary calculations. The maneuver is unavailable to players who’ve already signed deals through the 2016/17 season, Amick notes (on Twitter). It’s also unavailable to those who sign minimum-salary contracts for that season, as fellow USA Today scribe Jeff Zillgitt points out (Twitter link).
The league and the players have a mutual option to terminate the collective bargaining agreement in 2017. A report from March indicated that NBA executives and agents alike feared one or both sides would opt out and a lockout would follow. The NBA has endured lockouts on multiple occasions, but only two, in 1999 and during the last labor negotiations in 2011, have resulted in the loss of regular season games. Progress between the league and the union is seemingly at a standstill as the union continues to search for an executive director to replace Billy Hunter, who was ousted at the All-Star break in 2013.