Running List Of Changes In NBA’s New Collective Bargaining Agreement

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association reached a tentative deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement early on the morning of Saturday, April 1. As a result of that agreement, we can rest assured that we won’t be faced with an NBA work stoppage this summer.

However, it may still be a little while until we have a complete picture of what’s changing and what’s staying the same in the new CBA.

Some of the coming changes have already been reported and more details will likely continue to trickle out in the coming days and weeks, so while we wait for an official term sheet, we’re tracking all those changes in the space below.

We’ll continue to add or clarify items to this list as necessary, so keep checking back for updates. Here’s what we know so far about the new CBA based on unofficial information from NBA reporters:

Updated 6-27-23 (5:27pm CT)

In-season tournament

The NBA will introduce an in-season tournament, likely as part of the 2023/24 schedule. Here are some details:

  • Teams will be divided into six intra-conference groups of five teams apiece and play each of the other teams in their group once. That first round of the tournament will consist of four games (two home and two road) that are part of the regular season schedule.
  • The six group winners and the top two wild card teams will advance to the eight-team single-elimination portion of the tournament. Tiebreakers are still being determined.
  • The “Final Four” will be played at a neutral location. Las Vegas is reportedly receiving consideration.
  • The round robin, quarterfinal, and semifinal games will count toward teams’ regular season record, but the final won’t.
  • NBA teams are expected to initially have 80 regular season games on their schedule. The leftover games for the teams that don’t make the single-elimination portion of the in-season tournament would be scheduled at a later date, while the two teams that make the final of the tournament would end up playing 83 games.
  • Prize money for the in-season tournament will be $500K per player for the winning team; $200K per player for the runner-up; $100K per player for the semifinal losers; and $50K per player for the quarterfinal losers.

(Original stories here)

Second tax apron

The NBA’s current “tax apron” is set a few million dollars above the luxury tax line. For instance, in 2022/23, the tax line is $150,267,000 and the tax apron is $156,983,000. Teams above the tax apron aren’t permitted to acquire players via sign-and-trade, use more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception, or use the bi-annual exception.

In the new CBA, the NBA will implement a second tax apron that will be $17.5MM above the tax line. Teams above that second apron will face a new set of restrictions, as follows:

  • They won’t have access to the taxpayer mid-level exception.
  • They won’t be able to trade away their first-round pick that’s seven years away, beginning in 2024/25. If the team remains above the second apron in two of the next four seasons, that draft pick that was frozen for trade purposes will fall to the end of the first round. If they stay under the second apron for three of the next four seasons, the pick would become unfrozen.
  • They won’t be allowed to sign free agents on the buyout market.
  • They won’t be permitted to send out cash in trades.
  • They won’t be able to take back more salary in a trade than they send out.
  • They won’t be able to aggregate salary for matching purposes in trades.

The second tax apron is expected to be phased in over the next two seasons.

(Original stories found here)

All-NBA and postseason award voting

Two key changes will impact voting on postseason awards beginning in 2023/24:

  • Players will need to appear in a minimum of 65 games to be eligible to earn postseason awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, All-NBA, etc.
  • Players would reportedly have to log at least 20 minutes in at least 63 of those games for them to count toward the 65-game minimum. They would be permitted to play between 15-20 minutes in two games and still have them count toward the minimum of 65. A player who suffers a season-ending injury can qualify for postseason awards with 62 games played. There will also be exceptions related to “bad faith circumstances.”
  • The three All-NBA teams will be positionless rather than featuring two guards, two forwards, and one center.
  • The two All-Defensive teams will be positionless rather than featuring two guards, two forwards, and one center.

(Original stories can be found here)

Salary cap changes

The following changes will apply to the salary cap:

  • The cap will increase by no more than 10% per league year in order to avoid a repeat of the 32% spike in 2016.
  • The value of the mid-level exception will receive a 7.5% bump and the room exception will be increased by 30%. Those bumps will be in addition to the exceptions’ usual increase, which is tied to the salary cap. The taxpayer mid-level exception will be reduced to $5MM in 2023/24 and will increase at the same rate as the cap after that.
  • The room exception will allow for contracts that cover up to three seasons, while the taxpayer mid-level exception will only allow for contracts that cover up to two seasons.
  • The luxury tax brackets, previously at $5MM intervals above the tax line, will now increase at the same rate of the salary cap.
  • A new cap exception will be introduced for second-round picks so that teams no longer need to use cap room or the mid-level exception to give those players salaries worth more than the rookie minimum or deals longer than two years. The exception will allow teams to offer contracts that cover up to four seasons, with a starting salary worth up to:
    • The equivalent of the veteran’s minimum for a second-year player for any three-year contract.
    • The equivalent of the veteran’s minimum for a third-year player for any four-year contract.
  • Players signed using the second-round exception won’t count against the cap until July 31, allowing those players to participate in Summer League activities without compromising cap room.
  • Teams below the minimum salary floor (90% of the cap) on the first day of the regular season will not receive an end-of-season tax distribution from the league’s taxpaying teams.
  • Teams will become hard-capped at the first tax apron if they take back more than 110% of the salary they send out in a trade.
  • Salary cap exceptions that used to begin prorating downward on January 10 will now begin proration on the day after the trade deadline.

(Original stories can be found here)

Free agency and contract-related changes

The following changes will apply to player contracts:

  • A player signing a veteran contract extension will be allowed to receive 140% of his previous salary in the first year of a new extension instead of 120%. Our expectation is that players earning less than the NBA’s average salary will be able to make up to 140% (instead of 120%) of the average salary in the first year of a veteran extension, though that has yet to be confirmed.
  • A player who declines a player option as part of a veteran extension will be able to have a first-year salary worth less than the player option in his new contract.
  • Players will be permitted to sign rookie scale extensions of up to five years (instead of four) even if the extension is worth less than the maximum salary.
  • The qualifying offer amount for restricted free agents who finish their rookie contracts will increase by 10% over its usual scale amount. This will apply for the first time to the 2023 rookie class.
  • The qualifying offer amount for restricted free agents who weren’t first-round picks will increase to 135% of their prior salary or $200K above their minimum salary, whichever is greater.
  • The time a team has to match an offer sheet for a restricted free agent will be reduced from two days to one day if the team receives it before noon Eastern time. The decision would be due by the following night at 11:59 pm ET. If the offer sheet is received after noon, the team would still have two days to decide whether to match.
  • Teams will no longer face restrictions on how many players on Designated Rookie or Designated Veteran contracts they can carry.
  • Teams will be permitted to begin negotiating with their own free agents one day after the NBA Finals conclude.
  • Teams above either tax apron won’t be permitted to sign “buyout” players. A “buyout” player will be defined as anyone waived that season whose pre-waiver salary exceeded the non-taxpayer mid-level exception.
  • Teams above either tax apron also won’t be able to take back more salary than they send out in any trade.
  • The extend-and-trade rules will be modified to allow for an extra year (four total years instead of three) and a higher salary (120% instead of 105%) than was previously permitted.
  • A team and player can agree to remove the player’s trade veto rights if he re-signs on a one-year contract that would give him Early Bird or Bird rights at the end of the contract.

(Original stories can be found right here and here)

Trade rules

  • During the 2023/24 league year, teams above either tax apron will only be permitted to take back up to 110% of their outgoing salary in a trade, rather than 125%.
  • Starting in the 2024 offseason, teams above either tax apron will only be permitted to take back up to 100% of their outgoing salary in a trade.
  • There will be a limit on how many minimum-salary players can be aggregated for salary-matching purposes during offseason trades.
  • Traded player exceptions will allow teams to take back salaries worth the amount of the exception plus $250K (instead of $100K).
  • The salary matching rules for teams below both tax aprons will become more lenient, allowing those clubs to take back the following amounts in trades:
    • 200% of the outgoing salary (plus $250K), for any amount up to $7,500,000.
    • The outgoing salary plus $7.5MM, for any amount between $7,500,001 and $29,000,000.
    • 125% of the outgoing salary (plus $250K), for any amount above $29,000,000.
  • A player and team cannot renegotiate the player’s contract for six months after he has been traded. Conversely, a player who has his contract renegotiated cannot be traded for six months.

(Original stories)

Two-way and Exhibit 10 contract changes

  • Teams will be permitted to carry three players on two-way contracts instead of two. That means the in-season roster limit will increase to 18 players (instead of 17) and the offseason roster limit will be 21 players (instead of 20).
  • Players on two-way contracts will have the ability to negotiate with teams to guarantee half of their salaries on the first day of the regular season.
  • The signing deadline for two-way contracts will be pushed back to March 4.
  • The maximum bonus for a player who signs an Exhibit 10 contract will be $75K instead of $50K. That amount will increase at the same rate as the salary cap.

(Original stories here)

Draft changes

Here are the details on how the new CBA will affect the NBA draft:

  • A player who is invited to the draft combine and declines to attend without an excused absence will be ineligible to be drafted. He would become eligible the following year by attending the combine. There will be exceptions made for a player whose FIBA season is ongoing, who is injured, or who is dealing with a family matter (such as a tragedy or the birth of a child).
  • Players who attend the draft combine will be required to undergo physical exams, share medical history, participate in strength, agility, and performance testing, take part in shooting drills, receive anthropometric measurements, and conduct interviews with teams and the media.
  • Medical results from the combine will be distributed to select teams based on where the player is projected to be drafted. The NBA and NBPA intend to agree on a methodology to rank the top 10 prospects in a draft class. Only teams drafting in the top 10 would get access to medical info for the projected No. 1 pick; teams in the top 15 would receive medical info for players in the 2-6 range, while teams in the top 25 would get access to info for the players in the 7-10 range.
  • Prospects who forgo college in favor of signing professional contracts with programs like the G League Ignite, Overtime Elite, or the NBL Next Stars will no longer automatically become draft-eligible during the calendar year when they turn 19. Those players now won’t become draft-eligible until they enter of their own accord or until the calendar year when they turn 22.
  • The one-and-done rule prohibiting prospects from entering the NBA directly out of high school will not change, despite some speculation to the contrary.

(Original stories here)

Miscellaneous changes

Here are a few more details on the new CBA:

  • The NBA G League will hold an annual draft for international players between the ages of 18 and 21 who opt to enter the draft pool.
  • Players will no longer be tested for marijuana use.
  • Players will be allowed to invest in NBA and WNBA franchises via a private equity firm selected by the NBPA. Individual players won’t be permitted to invest directly in NBA franchises; the NBPA can do so in behalf of all players. Individual players can invest directly in WNBA teams, though they’ll face some restrictions.
  • Players will be allowed to promote or invest in companies involved with sports betting and cannabis. However, any involvement with sports betting companies will require “complete separation” from the gambling component.
  • Team and league licensing revenue will be added to the NBA’s Basketball Related Income for the first time.

(Original stories can be found here)

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