A new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NBA and the players has been reached almost two weeks ago. The team owners approved the proposal on December 21 before the players’ union okayed it two days later.
The new CBA guarantees that there would be no lockout or shortened season once the existing CBA ends in June next year. It can be recalled that a lockout and subsequent shortened NBA season already happened in the past as a result of protracted negotiations over the agreement.
The new agreement will take effect beginning in July 2017 and would last until after the 2022-23 NBA season, reports Complex.
Foremost to the changes that the new NBA CBA would usher is the dramatic increase in the average salary of players from the current $5 million per year to about $9 million annually.
The increase in player salary is a result of the league’s dramatic increase in revenues too as the game grows more popular not only in the US but all over the world.
Thus, it is expected that some scaled contracts are going to go up significantly including rookie deals, minimum salary deals, and free-agent exceptions.
Among the first to benefit from the new CBA
Golden State Warriors point guard and league Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, is expected to be among the first to benefit from the salary provisions of the new CBA.
The premiere point guard of the Warriors is currently playing on a four-year $44 million contract but once the CBA takes effect during the off-season next year, he can actually be eligible to get as much as a five-year $207 million contract, which would make it the biggest player contract in league history.
The CBA also removes amnesty clauses so teams cannot waive players and remove their salaries from their roster cap.
The new CBA will also help balance the composition of NBA teams as small-market teams will have greater ability to retain star players as they can already offer designated veterans extensions for up to six years.
In addition, the maximum roster size for each team will be expanded from the current 15 to 17 which means that each team will have two slots for players who can go between the active roster and the D-League, similar to NHL’s two-way contracts.
And finally, the over-36-rule has also been changed to the over-38-rule. This means that instead of teams not allowed to sign players to four- or five-year deals up to the time they reach the age of 36, it’s now 38 years old. It seems that the rule has been bent to accommodate LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, whose contract with the Cavs ends in 2018 and he would already be 33 by then.
Moving in the right direction
Critics believe that the new CBA is a reflection of the parity and fairness in the NBA, saying that the game and the league are now moving in the right direction.
The new CBA also signifies that the players are beginning to be treated more as partners by team owners instead of being mere employees, which fans and critics believe are well-deserved.
After all, it’s the players that make the game exciting for the fans and the owners and the league have also come to appreciate the reality.
While the league has carried out effective marketing and television strategy to promote the games on a global scale, its star players are still the main attraction.
The NBA owes everything to superstars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, and the like because fans would only stay to watch the games because of these superstars as well as the emerging ones.