A lockout like that of 2011 won’t happen again anytime soon as the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement.
The deal could potentially deliver labor peace to the NBA through the 2023-24 season – with a mutual opt-out available to be exercised in 2022.
The owners and players must ratify the deal negotiated by NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, but that is considered a relative formality. The league and union have agreed to extend the Thursday deadline to opt out of the previous deal until Jan. 13 to allow the sides to ratify the agreement.
The agreement includes a great deal of status quo economically, including no change in the basketball-related income split of 50-50 and negligible change in the salary-cap and luxury-tax rules, league sources said.
In an effort to incentivize players to re-sign with their own teams, designated veteran star players will be able to sign five-year extensions with a year left on their current deals – an additional year over the four years previously allowed, league sources said. For example, Oklahoma City and Indiana could re-sign Russell Westbrook and Paul George, respectively, to deals this summer that could keep them under contract for the next six seasons.
This rule will also be focused on players headed into their second contracts and headed toward restricted free agency, as well as players moving toward unrestricted free agency. It will allow players to be guaranteed more money to stay with their current teams over testing the free-agent market.
Criteria for those designated players will be based on achievements, including appearances on All-NBA teams and Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year award winners, league sources said.
The NBA’s 36-and-over rule that prohibits players from signing a five-year maximum contract if their 36th birthday falls during the life of the deal has changed to a 38-and-under rule, league sources said. Several members of the union’s executive committee, including president Chris Paul, vice president LeBron James and executive committee member Carmelo Anthony could benefit financially from the rule. Under this change, Paul, a perennial All-Star, is eligible for a five-year, $207 million deal to stay with Los Angeles this summer.