Agents will push teams to price that second cap jump — from about $90 million to $110 million — into any four-year extension struck over the next two months. Both sides knew that Alec Burks wasn’t “worth” $10.3 million per season in 2015 terms when Utah inked him to a four-year extension almost a year ago, but the Jazz understood that if Burks made a leap he could outproduce his salary on the back end. Per several league sources, agents are striking a tough posture in preliminary talks. That doesn’t mean the next two months will produce stalemates, short-term deals, or near-max contracts for anyone who demands one. These same dynamics hovered over contract talks during the past year, and players, with more choices than ever, still opted mostly for long-term security; the risk of injury always looms, and the threat of another work stoppage in 2017 clouds everything.
Players are making more money than ever, too, despite those concessions. And while more money might create more reasons to fight, the opposite could also be true: It might convince everyone not to mess with a good thing. And there are an increasing number of voices on both sides who believe the latter axiom just might win the day. “The recognition is that this is an embarrassment of riches for both sides, and what’s the point?” said a longtime observer with intimate knowledge of NBA labor relations.
In 2017-18, basketball-related income could exceed $7 billion, with the players earning 51 percent, or $3.57 billion. “You miss a third of the season, you lose a billion dollars,” the longtime observer said. “What are you going to gain? The numbers are just so extraordinarily high.”
Some agents believe Roberts is still determined to opt out of the labor deal, based on her heated rhetoric. But most of the sources who spoke to Bleacher Report believe Roberts is simply sending a message to NBA officials—”I’m no pushover”—and that she recognizes this deal is benefiting her constituents.
Ken Berger: NBPA executive director Michele Roberts has issued point-by-point rebuttal of Adam Silver’s comments on the health of the NBA business. “Virtually every business metric demonstrates that our business is healthy.”