With three weeks left to agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it seems NBA owners are still unwilling to move from their intial demands that the players make concessions that will mirror the contract structure of the NFL. National Basketball Players Association President Derek Fisher said the following (quoted from a series of tweets from CBS’ Ken Berger):
“There’s no hiding the fact that the main components of what we originally received in their proposal has not changed at all.”
“We have to have a hard salary cap, we need to have non-guaranteed contracts, we need shorter contracts.”
“It’s very clear if we don’t agree to what we’ve been offered so far, we’ll be faced with a lockout.”
Such a structure would, obviously, radically change the entire salary structure of the NBA. Contracts would come with insane signing bonuses and ridiculous back-loaded contracts that would never see the light of day. The Miami Heat could offer LeBron James a $300 million dollar deal with absolutely zero chance it would ever pay him that kind of money. Meanwhile, a player like Rajon Rondo could look at the $10 million he’s due next year and think its not enough, and hold out of camp until he renegotiates his deal, forces a trade, or gets outright released.
Let’s get this part out of the way now: This won’t happen. The NBA will not so completely re-structure its entire system in one fell swoop. The resulting chaos would make the league unrecognizable. Fans would be too confused. GM’s would be too overworked. We’d end up with such an aberration of a season with so much player movement that literally any team… yes, even the Los Angeles Clippers or Minnesota Timberwolves… could win it all.
Owners are going to test the players’ resolve. They will make demands that will clearly be rejected and take their chances with a lockout. It’s obvious players will have to give in to some amount of these demands. It’s also obvious owners will have to pull back on some of these demands. Maybe they’ll get shorter contracts, but not as short as they want. Maybe they’ll get partially guaranteed contracts rather than fully non-guaranteed deals.
But its obvious the way deals are done will change in the NBA. And its becoming more and more likely that there will be a lockout. The sides are not close, and the deadline is three weeks away. This is going to get tougher before we see any progress.