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NBA and NBPA Reach Agreement on New CBA

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The NBA announced Wednesday that it has reached a tentative agreement with the NBPA for a new CBA.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The NBA announced Wednesday that it has reached a tenative agreement with the NBPA on a new CBA, hours before the deadline. The agreement is for a 7-year CBA according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, with an opt-out provision after the sixth year in 2022 per David Aldridge of NBA.com.

Salary increases will be made to the rookie scale contract structure, as well as exceptions used to sign free agents such as the mid-level exception and the bi-annual exception per Aldridge. Sources tell CelticsBlog that increases will be variably adjusted on an annual basis in accordance with the cap. The mid-level exception has traditionally served as an approximate median salary in the league. But when the cap spiked under the new TV deal, the mid-level exception continued to slowly increase because it was set as an absolute value in the previous agreement.

Cap holds will also increase this offseason, while the match window for restricted free agents will decrease to two days, sources tell CelticsBlog. Additionally, sources tell CelticsBlog that there will be no amnesty clause in this CBA.

The Basketball Related Income (BRI) that was a contentious sticking point in the last negotiations remains in place, with approximately 50 percent going to the players [various factors shift the players’ share between 49 and 51 percent]. The definition of BRI is expected to expand to include extra revenue from certain luxury box sales and other sources under the definition of “basketball” that were previously excluded.

The over-36 rule will be moved back to 38 years old, now allowing players such as Chris Paul and LeBron James—the chief players in the NBPA—to sign four and five-year max deals later in their careers, sources told CelticsBlog. Max salaries will now be tied directly to the cap, as opposed to the more complicated formula that relies on the annual determination of BRI.

Minimum salaries will increase by 45 percent starting next season, per Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick. He also reports that the NBPA will now retain control of licensing distribution from industries like video games. The league previously paid the union $50 million for control of those rights, but Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts will reportedly continue negotiations on how to manage these group marketing rights, per Soshnick. The current agreement expires in July, giving extra time to facilitate the rights transfer.

Teams will now be able to expand their rosters by one to two slots when sending additional players on two-way contracts to teams’ D-League affiliates, per Soshnick. D-League salaries will significantly increase to make them somewhat competitive with salaries available overseas. Soshnick also reports that the league will create a wearable technology advisory committee that will determine how the league uses wearables and how it will govern that data. Teams currently have proprietary control over player data, which has become a sticking point in both contextualizing contract negotiations and managing player medical privacy.

The preseason will now be shorter, and the regular season will start a week earlier per Wojnarowski, furthering the league’s efforts to reduce weeks in which teams play back-to-back games and 4 games in 5 nights. This move was originally reported by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor a month ago.

Soshnick reports that there are health-related changes to the contract that provides more rest between games and reduces back-to-backs. Additionally, retired players will received bigger pension payments, and a tuition reimbursement program will be joint-funded by the league and NBPA, according to Aldridge.

The one-and-done rule will remain in place for draft eligibility. Aldridge reports that the NBPA proposed a 0-and-2 rule, allowing high schoolers to join the league while requiring college/overseas players to complete two seasons after high school. The league’s proposal was for a 20-year age minimum, but both sides compromised by extending the current rule.

Teams will now be able to assign a Designated Veteran for a larger extension, expanding upon the current rule in place which allows that designation for players coming out of their rookie contracts, per ESPN’s Marc Stein. This wrinkle comes in reaction to Kevin Durant’s departure from Oklahoma City, giving teams a much more significant financial advantage to retain max free agents.

A more detailed domestic violence policy is expected to be announced at some point, as previously reported by O’Connor. Additionally drug testing is expected to change, with more convenient testing procedures and a relaxed focus on marijuana after it was legalized in multiple states last month.

While the owners and players still need to officially ratify the final agreement, the deadline has been pushed to January 13 by mutual agreement in anticipation that the final fine points will be agreed to by then.