The new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the players is here, and quite a bit is changing. The owners approved the proposal Wednesday, and the players approved it Friday, according to an ESPN report.
You know what that means: no lockout.
Among the features of the new agreement, which begins July 2017 and is guaranteed to run through at least 2022-23:
- The league’s average salary is going up a lot. This is a result of the league’s dramatically increased revenue as the game grows more popular. The average salary will jump from about $5 million per year to $9 million. Some scaled contracts that are going up significantly: rookie deals, minimum salary deals, and free-agent exceptions.
- As a result of this new deal, Stephen Curry, who is currently playing on a four-year, $44 million contract, will be eligible for a five-year, $207 million contract. Yep, that would be the biggest contract in league history.
- No amnesty clauses anymore, so teams cannot waive players and remove their salaries from their roster cap.
- Small-market teams will have greater ability to retain star players, because they can now offer designated veterans extensions of up to six seasons in length.
- Maximum roster size is rising from 15 to 17 players. Each team will have two slots for players who can go between the active roster and the D League, akin to the NHL’s “two-way contracts.”
- The “over-36 rule,” which would not allow teams in some conditions to sign older players to four- or five-year deals, has been changed to the “over-38 rule.” Know who that impacts? LeBron James. He could now sign a five-year deal in 2018 at 33 years old, according to Brian Windhorst.
There’s a lot to digest, I know. To get the full scope, check out the ESPN report.
All in all, it seems like the game is moving in the right direction, and the players are beginning to be treated more as partners than employees. It's well deserved. Though the league has implemented brilliant marketing and television strategy, its stars are the main attraction; without LeBron and Steph, Russ and KD, fans wouldn't stay glued to the news. Now these players are getting more of a just payout.