Perhaps I was a bit too bold a few weeks ago, declaring the NBA season dead, because as I had pointed out on quite a few occasions, the players were going to eventually become desperate enough to take whatever they could get. And it finally happened, as the players and owners have apparently agreed in principle on a new CBA that will keep us lockout free for at least the next 6 years and will allow the NBA to move forward with a 66-game season starting on Christmas Day.
Of course we all know by now that the players received 57% of the basketball related income under the last CBA, but we also know that 22 teams supposedly lost a combined $400 million last year, so the split had to be balanced more in the owners’ favor. The players were cool with that, offering to take just 53% and they said that was their firm offer and they wouldn’t budge, even if it meant losing the season. Then their yacht and custom shoe bills came in and they were like, “LOL JK we’ll take 49%.”
So what do both sides get out of this nonsense?
• BRI: A band of 49%-51% for players depending on the growth of league revenues which amounts to a swing of roughly $280 million annually to owners, a significant win for owners.
• Salary cap, floor and luxury tax: Expected to be about the same as last season — $58 million for the salary cap and $70 million for the luxury tax threshold. For the salary floor, clubs must spend 85% of the cap in years 1 and 2 of the CBA and 90% of the cap in the remaining years.
• Exceptions: The players made great strides but there are still restrictions on a taxpaying club’s ability to use those exceptions, in an effort to prevent high-payroll clubs from significantly outspending low-payroll clubs.
• Luxury tax fees: This is a big one for the NBA. Instead of a dollar-for-dollar tax for every dollar spent over the tax threshold, the new rate charges clubs an escalating amount. For the first $5 million over the threshold, a club will pay $1.50 for every $1 over. It increases for each $5 million over, up to $3.25 for every $1 over. Clubs also face a stiffer tax for exceeding the threshold more than three times in a five-year period. This is to prevent clubs from outspending others by $60 million, even $70 million.
• Rookie wage scale and league minimum contracts: They will remain the same as last season and won’t include a 12% rollback, which was in the league’s previous proposal.
• Restricted free agents: RFAs who are outstanding performers will receive higher qualifying offers in an effort to reward players in their rookie contract. Also, clubs now have three days rather than seven to match offers on restricted free agents.
• Length of the CBA: It is a 10-year deal with mutual opt-out clauses for both sides after the sixth year.
(Via USA Today)
I’m glad the lockout is over, mainly because I enjoy the NBA, but also because I was getting pretty sick of watching the league’s elite players chase fame while not delivering on what actually made them famous in the first place. It’s good for the cities and especially the people who work for the arenas and franchises.
But if you take only one thing away from this lockout mess, let it be this – no matter how many mistakes you make, no matter how many horrible decisions you make, no matter how many businesses you destroy from carelessness and stupidity, no matter how much money you waste… you will always be taken care of in this country if you’re a billionaire.