Commissioner, Union Leaders Optimistic About New CBA

Now that the early opt-out deadline has been extended to March 31, commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio are focused on working out a new collective bargaining agreement by that date, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“I would just say it’s an absolute priority for us as well to get a deal done as soon as possible,” Silver said Saturday at his annual All-Star Game news conference. He later added, “It’s my hope that the deal will be done by then.”

Both sides indicated that progress has been made on a new CBA, although some issues still have to be worked through, such as how to handle load management and the potential addition of a midseason tournament. NBPA president CJ McCollum is a supporter of the tournament, citing experiences that his brother had with a similar arrangement in Europe.

“Obviously, we’re still working through logistics and what that kind of looks like, the financial implications behind the midseason tournament,” McCollum said. “I think, as a player who has played in play-in games probably more than I would have liked to at this point in my career, I think there was probably some pessimism and optimism mixed in from our fan base about what that was going to look like.”

Another topic being negotiated is a league proposal to permit players to enter the draft straight out of high school. The union appears open to the idea, but it wants some mechanism to make sure too many veteran players won’t be pushed out of the league as a result. Tremaglio would like to see a structure set up to help high schoolers make the jump to the NBA and give them their best shot at success.

“We recognize that we really do need to make sure that we have the structure in place, if we’re going to have people join the league at the age of 18,” she said. “We also appreciate that there is a lot of benefit to really having veterans who can bring those 18-year-olds along. And so you know, certainly anything that we would even consider, to be quite honest, would have to include a component that would allow veterans to be a part of it as well.”

Silver touched on a few other significant issues, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

  • The commissioner cited “medical data” to support the way teams are currently handling load management and disagreed with claims that stars are sitting out too often.
  • He said the league is on pace to set records for ticket sales and season-ticket renewals, adding that this year’s All-Star Game is reaching new highs with $280MM in economic impact and 33,000 combined hotel nights.
  • Silver said a contingency plan is in place to make sure games are televised if any regional sports networks go bankrupt before the end of the season.
  • He added that no new expansion discussions have taken place. Silver has said before that the league wants to focus on finalizing a new CBA before considering expansion.
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