Silver and Roberts are working in a different time, and have been willing to give one another the benefit of the doubt as they build their relationship. Both are strong-willed, but don’t have the sense/need for the dramatic flourishes of their predecessors. “Definitely, the pile of money helps,” a source familiar with the discussions noted last week. (As the deal is not yet done, both sides have continued to respect a news blackout on the state of negotiations, though details of the progress between the sides leaked out a month ago.)
The two sides are discussing proposals that would allow players with 10 or more years’ service in the league, per an industry source, to get a bump in max salaries that would push the maximum contract for such a player re-signing with his own team to more than $200 million for five years, with a first-year salary in excess of $35 million. And pensions, benefits and health care provisions for retired players will also get augmented.
National Basketball Players Association president Michele Roberts plans to meet with all NBA players in person in the coming weeks to discuss the new labor agreement, sources tell ESPN.
This is another sign that an agreement between the NBA and NBPA is imminent. The league and the players association have made progress on a new agreement in recent weeks, and there remains optimism on both sides that a deal will get done in the near future. The current collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the NBPA runs through June 2021, with both sides holding the right until Dec. 15 to express an intent to opt out in 2017.
“Let me just single out one owner in particular, Michael Jordan,” Silver said during his upbeat update on CBA negotiations this week following the Board of Governors meetings in Manhattan. “I think having Michael Jordan as part of our negotiating committee, the unique perspective he brings to the bargaining table because of his playing career, having been, of course, a superstar player. Now for players to see him in that position, it doesn’t mean that if Michael says it, it necessarily means that they accept that as the position they should take. But I think that’s really added a special element unique to this league.”
“The reports aren’t far off, but we’re not quite there, yet,” Silver said Tuesday morning on ESPN’s Mike & Mike. “I think we’ve had very productive meetings … both sides came to the table with a spirit of partnership, with a sense that things are going very well in the league right now. As I just mentioned, we’ve had a huge influx of money because our new television deals and I think both sides understood that we would both be blamed if we screwed this up, given the amount of money we were dividing between the teams and the players.