Blog Entry

A new CBA is actually really close

Posted on: October 30, 2011 10:06 am
Posted by Royce Young

We're all disappointed. We're all upset. Even maybe a little angry.

With all that positive momentum heading into Friday's labor negotiations, there was a legitimate expectation that David Stern and Billy Hunter would emerge ready to announce a deal.

That didn't happen. And with no new talks scheduled, the rest of November's games were canceled and it felt like everything reset and it's back to the drawing board.

Not so fast though. There's been movement -- lots of it, in fact -- and in reality, they aren't quite so far off from putting pen to paper on a new collective bargaining agreement. Via the New York Times:
The new N.B.A. labor deal is practically done. You wouldn’t know it from the headlines, the dour news conferences or the apocalyptic rhetoric spilling from league officials. But the deal, in practical terms, is about 95 percent complete.

The N.B.A. and the players union have agreed on contract lengths and luxury-tax rates, trade rules and cap exceptions, and a host of oddly named provisions offering “amnesty” and “stretch payments” and less onerous “base-year” rules.

All of these pieces — some favoring the players, most of them favoring the owners — have fallen into place in recent weeks, even as talks collapsed and restarted and collapsed again. The checklist has been reduced to a few items.

But it is the last 5 percent that is ruining the prospects for labor peace and gradually eroding the N.B.A. season.

Use any metaphor you like -- ball's on the two-yard line, it's the fourth quarter, bases loaded... whatever -- but the deal is right there. It's so close, but at the same time truly does feel so far away. Basketball Related Income has hung everything up once again and with both sides seeming to be completely dug in -- for now -- into their positions, it just doesn't feel like a deal is close to happening. 

But consider the agreements that are tentatively in place, according to the report:

  • Luxury tax: The new system will charge teams $1.50 for every dollar over the threshold, which replaces the dollar-for-dollar setup in the last CBA. But the tax even goes to $1.75 after $5 million, $2.25 after $10 million and $3 after $15 million.
  • Contract lengths: Players with Bird Rights get to have a five-year max deal, while everyone else gets four-year max deals. The last CBA was six years for Bird Rights and five for everyone else.
  • Raises: Annual raises get reduced by "several" percent, going as low as possibly just 5 percent for Bird players and 3.5 for everyone else. The last deal had raises as high as 10.5 for Bird players and 8 percent for other players.
  • The Mid-level exception: It starts at $5 million, which is a mild decrese of $800,000. Length of contract and raises are still being discussed.
  • Amnesty clause: As Ken Berger of has reported, a new amnesty clause will be in the new CBA, allowing teams to waive one player at anytime during the life of the new CBA. You still have to pay the players but his salary won't count against the cap and luxury tax. But here's a catch: It can't be used on anyone signed before July 1, 2011. So all that talk about who you'd amnesty would change quite a bit because those players aren't eligible.
  • Stretch exception: Teams will be allowed to extend out payments to players that have been waived to spread out the cap hit over several season.

A few issues still remain such as the league wants to punish tax-paying teams by denying them the mid-level exception and sign-and-trade deals as well as additional penalties for "repeat offenders."

By the sounds of it, at least to me, the players are bending quite a bit on this new system. It's still pretty favorable to them, especially when you consider that initially the owners wanted a hard cap, but all the concessions are coming from the players, at least compared to the last CBA. So it's understandable why they feel they need to take a stand at 53 percent BRI.

But all that wasn't there a week ago. Real, tangible progress has been made towards a deal. They're close. It's just about finishing. Time to get clutch. Someone step up and hit a big shot.

Category: NBA

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: October 31, 2011 7:40 am

A new CBA is actually really close

So basically it is nothing new. Players can still under perform with out worrying about losing their jobs

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 7:40 am

Reality check?

Now that the paychecks aren't coming in, maybe the players realize that without the NBA, they can't support their hangers-on.  It's tough to support a posse when you aren't qualified to do much more than work at McDonalds in the real world.  

Since: Feb 3, 2010
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:16 am

A new CBA is actually really close

Stretch exception: Teams will be allowed to extend out payments to players that have been waived to spread out the cap hit over several season.
Really?   This will be an exception and only teams above the cap will be able to do this?   That seems patently unfair to the teams who spend their money wisely and remain under the cap.

My guess is that this will be a 'stretch provision' available to all 30 teams and not an 'exception' only available to teams over the cap.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:05 am

A new CBA is actually really close

. . . the deal, in practical terms, is about 95 percent complete.
Well, bully.  So what else is new?  It's probably been 95 percent complete for months now.  It's the other five percent that's the problem; the first 95 percent are generally the easy part in such negotiations.  That's the way it was with the NFL lockout as well, and I think we heard these "95 percent complete" stories over a month before that one was finally settled.  And we may still be hearing "95 percent complete" stories a month from now--and they'll probably be just as accurate as the present ones.

Since: Nov 15, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:33 am

A new CBA is actually really close


Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:04 am

A new CBA is actually really close

I've said this before, but one more time for the record - WHO CARES?

Is anybody really going to miss this season if it's cancelled?  I mean really miss it?  Think about it.  I live in an NBA city and I haven't heard one single person say something like, "I don't know what I'm going to do without the NBA".  I've personally been an NBA fan for over 40 years and even I've gotten to the point where I don't really care that much anymore. 

The NBA is a broken franchise.  It's a league that cannot possibly sustain the price structure in the current economy.  In my city it can cost $200-250 to take a family of 5 to a game.  Then you get to sit in the upper level and watch players walk through the first 3 quarters of a game and then turn it on for the last 5 minutes.  Wow!  That's value.  From a money point of view, this cannot continue.  The whole league needs to be broken down and re-fitted.  Frankly, the system is broken and both the players and owners have to realize this.  Television ratings are down.  Attendance is down.  The regular season is basically meaningless.  Small market teams can't hold on to their own players because they all want to play in Miami, LA or NYC.  And biggest problem of all is that this league is turning into the NHL as far as general fan interest is concerned.  These are all critical issues.

How can a sport that continues to lose general interest within it's fan base continue to pay self-glorified "stars" like LeBron James $20 million a year.  It can't.  Unfortuinately, only the players fail to grasp this point at the moment.

Like I said....   WHO CARES?

Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:37 am

A new CBA is actually really close

The only pro sports season has a good lengh is the nfl. Baseball Bastketball have a very long season.Now hocky is just miserible a killer long season then the playoffs come around and the 10 hour games and 7 game series get over the top gay. Its sad to say that tennis is much more dramatized and ten times more enjoyment to watch. ITs always a battle which is worst Hockey OR  Soccer. Dumb and dumder

Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:27 am

A new CBA is actually really close

This lockout is quite dumb to start with. These NBA players have nothing to argue about. How they were getting %57 of the pie is insane. I agree that it should be a good compensation, but how in any way should they be able to dictate how much that thier bosses pay them? I'm a buisness owner and i would not only be pissed if one of my employes came to me and said, "boss you will pay me the first %60 of all of your profits before you see a dime " i would crush that thought faster then it can into that persons disrespectful mind. To be an owner of one of these mid level teams i'm sure is much more difficullt but the same princibles apply. The owner < he should never recieve anything less then 65% of the profits  and then decide as these players BOSS on how much they deserve to be paid. Oh and they should only get paid after each game ,and how much depends how much of there important effort.    So, what im getting at is the title (OWNER) just means you are a very rich punching bag.Otherwise the Bosses should stand up and tell the current players that they are fired and go out recruite anyone else that would love

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:15 am

A new CBA is actually really close

Oh my god!!! I'm tired of the hockey and nascar morons bashing the NBA. If you don't like it then stay out. I love basketball and would love to have the NBA and college hoops on the air. Hockey is not going to get more air time because for one they don't play on TNT and two why aren't more games being shown on espn and espn 2 when the NBA season wouldn't have started yet anyway. Nascar is once a week and almost done anyways so it is a non factor. The NHL sucks but I'm not on the hockey forums ever bashing it!!! Hockey fans get outta here your not going to see more air time if anything college basketball will. But it sounds like the NBA will be back soon anyway.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 30, 2011 11:32 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

This feels like I felt when I was 95% of the way to catch a departed airplane! The Union is holding fast at 52.5% for themselves. That loses money every year for the owners. The owners are back to 47% for the players. That takes them a small distance above breakeven but still a very poor return on investment. Until the players agree to 50% or less it does not look like the remaining 5% is going to happen soon. 

You make a lot of sense and some great points, especially when you're talking about the BRI split, but here's the thing.  The new luxury tax rule is going to reduce many player salaries, starting immediately with the next free agents.  The new luxury tax rules heavily favour the league and will allow for parity to finally exist in the NBA and small to mid market size teams a chance to get further into the playoffs and in a lot of cases a chance at winning a championship.... here's why.

Look at the Lakers for example.... their team salary is at about 92 million dollars, and based on the soft cap of around 60 million dollars recently and a dollar for dollar luxury cap system the Lakers would have to pay about 30 million dollars into the luxury tax fund for exceeding the cap by as much as they are right now.  With the new rules the Lakers would have to pay out an approximate 72 million dollars in luxury tax to stay at that payroll.  The first 15 million over costs them around 27 million dollars and from 15 million to 30 million over at 3 dollars per it costs the another 45 million dollars.  This means the Lakers under the old system paid out 90 million in salaries plus another 30 in luxury tax fees for a total of 90 million dollars, but under the new system this new deal would cost the Lakers 132 million dollars to keep the same team together...  that's an incredible amount of money and you can be sure the Lakers regardless of how much or how little they've made will not pony up that kind of money.

Orlando, San Antonio and Boston were paying in the neighborhood of anywhere from 14 to 16 million dollars in luxury tax fees, that number will now become somewhere between 27 and 30 million dollars per team, once again a massive difference.

So regardless of whatever cut the players get of the BRI, their pay will decrease.  As player contracts run out and as players are cut, most will never see the same salary again because teams will simply refuse to pay those kind of penalties.  A team that goes over by 10 million dollars will no longer pay an extra 10 million, they'll have to pay 6 or 7 million dollars more... this will matter to owners and salaries will be cut.

With that all being said, I think the owners will need more then a 47.5 percent cut of the BRI but might be able to get away with less then 50 percent since they'll be paying much less sooner then later.....

Oh by the way, the players are morons.  They were probably better off accepting 47 or 48 percent 2 months ago, they wouldn't have lost a months pay and could have avoided these huge luxury tax restrictions....... they are idiots. 

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