NBA, Union Making Progress Toward New CBA

The NBA and its players union have made “significant progress” toward reaching a new collective bargaining agreement in recent weeks and are finding common ground on several important issues, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Both sides are motivated to get a CBA in place before the March 31 deadline, which has been extended twice already after originally being set for December 15. That’s the deadline for either side to opt out of the current arrangement, which is set to expire after the 2023/24 season.

Sources tell Charania that the NBPA has notified the league office that it hopes to finalize a new CBA sometime in March.

“We want to finish this deal soon and certainly want this wrapped up before the (March 31) deadline,” said a high-ranking source involved in negotiations. “It’s close — we need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s.”

According to Charania, the league and the union are negotiating a new luxury tax system that would increase the lower tier and lessen the penalties for teams that are barely above the threshold. With salaries rapidly increasing, Charania states that a new bracket tier will allow teams to keep pace without incurring a heavy tax bill.

Charania notes that the current system imposes a tax rate of $1.50 for every dollar over the cap for teams that exceed the tax threshold by less than $5MM. That rises to $1.75 per each dollar for teams that are over by $5MM but less than $10MM. The NBA and the union want to redefine those brackets without getting rid of the punitive penalties for teams at the upper tax levels.

There’s more from Charania on the state of negotiations:

  • The NBA wants language in the new CBA regarding load management and the frequent resting of star players. Charania states that the league is also concerned about whether Diamond Sports’ Regional Sports Network is able to continue broadcasting games for 16 of the 30 teams.
  • Charania cites “momentum” for lowering the draft age to 18 and eliminating the current “one-and-done” system in college basketball, but he adds that the NBPA wants to include conditions that would protect veteran players.
  • Contract extension limits, which are currently 120% in the first year of a new extension, may be raised to 140% or 150%. That allows players with contracts that have become below market value to lock down significant raises moving forward. Charania notes that players who could benefit immediately include Toronto’s OG Anunoby, Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis and Utah’s Lauri Markkanen.
  • The league also wants to smooth out upcoming increases in the salary cap and hopes to avoid a repeat of the sudden spike that happened in 2016.
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