NEW YORK -- Union executive director Billy Hunter urged NBA players to ratify the next collective bargaining agreement in a letter detailing terms of the deal -- some of which were revealed publicly for the first time Wednesday.
"The NBPA Executive Committee recommends that the players vote to ratify the proposed CBA," Hunter wrote in the letter, obtained by CBSSports.com and other outlets. "Although the players made significant financial concessions, including taking a reduced share of Basketball-Related Income, collective salaries will nonetheless increase over the course of the CBA. The players retained important system issues and achieved gains on non-economic issues."
The term sheet emailed to players detailed previously publicized aspects of the deal, including a 51.15 percent share of BRI for the players in 2011-12 and a 50 percent share thereafter -- with the possibility of achieving a 51 percent share if revenues exceeded projections. Hunter's letter projected that player salaries and benefits would grow from $2.17 billion to more than $3 billion by the end of the 10-year agreement -- if neither side executes an opt-out clause after the sixth year of the deal.
The letter also revealed for the first time specifics of several key deal points and a litany of so-called B-list issues that union and league negotiators have hammered out over the past 11 days since the framework of the deal was tentatively agreed to Nov. 26. For example, the NBA must maintain a detailed revenue-sharing plan during the course of the agreement. (The Board of Governors is expected to formally approve the plan Thursday before voting on the CBA).
Also, clearing up some confusion among agents and team executives, the amnesty provision by which a team can waive a player and wipe the balance of his contract from the cap and tax, can only be used once per team during the course of the CBA -- and only on contracts initiated prior to the CBA.
Among the other more interesting points:
* The minimum team salary will be 80 percent of the salary cap in 2011-12, 85 percent in '12-'13 and 90 percent in '13-'14.
* The international player buyout amount is increased from $500,000 to $525,000 this year, and by $25,000 each additional season.
* Player contracts can be renegotiated downward in extensions, as long as the player's salary does not decrease by more than 40 percent. Previously, renegotiations could only increase a player's salary, but extensions could decrease the salary. This provision closes that loophole to the extent that a player's salary cannot drop more than 40 percent in a renegotiation and extension.
* Minimum fee for player promotional appearances made on behalf of commercial sponsor set at $3,000 ($3,500 beginning in 2016-17). The fee is $4,000 for appearances beyond eight in a season.
* Players will have a minimum of 16 days off per season beginning in 2012-13. A joint NBA-NBPA committee will study further improvements to workplace conditions, focusing on such issues as back-to-back games and two-a-days during training camp.
* Draft eligibility age remains set at one year removed from high school, with a joint NBA-NBPA committee discussing future changes.
* Players with three or fewer years of service can receive unlimited assignments to the NBA Development League but will be paid their NBA salaries. Players with more than three years of service can be assigned to the D-League with their consent, for example, for injury rehab.
* Beginning in 2012-13, players can be tested a maximum of two times during the offseason for performance-enhancing drugs only. Previously, players were subject to four random drug screenings from Oct. 1-June 30. HGH testing is not included, but the joint NBA-NBPA committee will study its possible future inclusion if it is agreed that the tests would be scientifically reliable.
* For those who really enjoy the fine print, the player per diem is set at $120, training camp compensation is increased to $2,000 per week and housing reimbursement for traded players is increased to $4,500 for three months following the trade.