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: Jul 8, 2010
Posted on: October 30, 2011 11:16 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

I'm ok with a shortened seson. 82 games in the NBA is way too long. It's good for ONE thing. Maintaining records....

Since: Apr 14, 2011
Posted on: October 30, 2011 11:09 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

Sounds good... for the players and owners. To improve the game for the fans, they should negotiate doing away with three step layups and the crab dribble (traveling), crossover dribbles where there is obvious palming of the basketball, complaining and bitching on the court by both coaches and players, flopping, ball handlers pushing off the defensive player, "continuation plays" (outlawed in the 1990s, but still allowed for the stars), illegal screens and the too many and too long TV timeouts.  The game should bring back hand checking, the three free throw attempts to make two, allow the defender to lean into the ball handler because charges are rarely  whistled and finally call the offense three second violations.  All players should be able to hit the open 17 foot jumper.  If they can't hit the medium range jumper, they should be fined.  In baseball, the managers and coaches wear the unifrom.  In football, the coaches wear the colors.  For basketball, the coaches should should stay in a box like the NHL or wear a uniform on the bench.  If the coaches are going to get up and yell, they should look stupid doing it. 

Since: Nov 22, 2009
Posted on: October 30, 2011 11:07 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

Many here have commented about how too many people who depend on the NBA for their personal income are getting hurt. There lies the real tragedy! There're business owners, waiters and many more who are being place in very precarious financial position because these millionaires cannot figure out how to share the money that the average Joe allows them to earn. This is disgusting and I hope there is a way to make these idiots pay for the damage they are causing to many local economies around the nation with this nonsense. I like the NBA and hope they come back to play soon, I hope their fans come back too as it is simply good for the NBA cities around the US. So enough already, Jump in your Ferraris and get your ass back to work.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: October 30, 2011 10:37 pm

A new CBA is not 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.

It may sound to you, Royce, like the players are bending quite a bit. But the reality is with $1.8B in losses over the past six year the owners need them to bend more. The owners started at 44%. The players started at 57%. The owners have come up 6%. The players have come down 4.5%. It is actually the owners that have bent quite a bit. They offered the highest BRI spilt they can without losing money. Even then, they have to cut $100M from other expenses.

Your thoughts in the title that the CBA is actually really close are unsubstantiated in this article. The number of issues decided mean nothing until the BRI is resolved. The luxury tax discussion means nothing until the extra penalties for recurring tax teams is agreed. The mid-level means nothing until the length of contract is agreed. The denial of tax teams to the mid-level and sign-and-trade provisions are a big step to overcome. Nothing has been mentioned here of the minimum age but the league is determined to bump that to two years out of high school. In conclusion there are many issues not settled and these remaining are by far the hardest. A CBA is not really close.

Since: Sep 4, 2010
Posted on: October 30, 2011 9:31 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

How about we NOT call off the whole season and they figure out a deal so everyone can go back to work.  And by "back to work" I do not mean the NBA players.  I mean all of the people that depend on the 42 games (plus preseason) for part of their annual income that are played in their home arenas.  This is income that many of these people count on having each year.  I do not feel sorry whatsoever for the owners or the players and I think it is ridiculous that this lockout has been dragging on for such a long time.  I feel sorry for the thousands of people who lose out on work because the arenas are empty when they should not be. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: October 30, 2011 9:19 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

Royce - Were not dissapointed, angry or depressed! The NBA sucks....lets hope they dont come back

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: October 30, 2011 9:15 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

Just get the deal done already. So close!

Since: Mar 30, 2010
Posted on: October 30, 2011 7:44 pm

Agree wuith Rikki

I think both sides should take a year or two to go over the fine print... maybe marry another Kardashian, send Bruce Jenner some sympathy Ho's, and train some more refs how to not call traveling, 3 seconds, or offensive foul on a superstar.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: October 30, 2011 7:35 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

The owners and players better take a longer look at this deal. Take your time. If it takes a year, fine. Two years, no problem. There's no big rush, guys. Really!

Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: October 30, 2011 6:51 pm

A new CBA is actually really close

People who do not care comment because the NBA and media are making it look like the average NBA fans world will end if these guys do not come to terms.  Does the average NBA fan really pay any interest until the finals?  No fans I know do.  The NBA and the players can paint this picture that people will walk around like zombies if they do not play but from what I read and hear from others the majority really do wish they would take the season and shove it.

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