NBA rumors: CBA deal coming soon?

More on CBA talks

The NBA and NBPA each have until Dec. 15 to exercise an opt-out clause of the current 10-year deal that was reached in 2011, but sources on both sides believe that a new deal will be in place prior to that date. An agreement will eliminate the possibility of a work stoppage in 2017.
Silver and a group of owners who make up the labor relations committee have been regularly meeting with Roberts and her staff in recent months to work on a new collective bargaining agreement. Those talks have been productive, and there is optimism that the sides may be able to work out a new deal by December, sources said.
Q: Will you be back at the collective-bargaining table next year? Adam Silver: Well, we’re back at the table already. While we and the union have agreed that we’re not going to talk publicly about the substance of our discussions, neither side has made it a secret that we’re talking and that the goal is, of course, to avoid any type of work stoppage whatsoever. I feel fairly confident that, based on the tone of these discussions thus far, based on the sense of trust and the amount of respect among the parties, that we should be able to avoid any kind of public labor issue and that the things we need to get done will get done behind closed doors.
Q: The executive director of the players’ union, Michele Roberts, gave an interview where she called salary caps un-American. What is your relationship with her like? Adam Silver: The communication is very direct between Michele and me. As a still relatively new head of the union, I think she is establishing herself, and it’s not for me to say what she should be saying publicly or otherwise. What I care most about is what is said across the bargaining table. We have built a relationship. We’re in the process of growing that relationship. I have tremendous respect for her. She has never made any issues personal. And to the extent she’s said things publicly, I think she’s made a distinction between what may be a personal point of view and a position that the union is taking.
But that cap jump and the artificial ceiling for max contracts meant plenty of players were given hefty contracts this summer simply because they could peg their demands to a max salary, and know multiple teams would give it to them. The most obvious example is Harrison Barnes, who went from being the fourth or fifth option with the Warriors to getting over $90 million guaranteed over the next four years on a max deal from the Dallas Mavericks. “If I was the owners, why wouldn’t I want to stop this?” one talent evaluator asked.
In the last lockout in 2011, the NBA significantly cut into the National Basketball Players Association’s share. The league managed to reduce the players’ share of basketball related income (otherwise known as BRI) from 57 percent before the work stoppage to a band between 49 and 51 percent under the new CBA. That doesn’t mean the league is satisfied, though. “They want one thing,” said one player agent, referring to the owners. “They want a higher percentage than 50 percent [of BRI]. That’s it.”
If players like Curry and Durant could each command, say, $50 or $60 million per year instead of the $26.5 million and change Durant will earn next season on his maximum allowed salary, it would be difficult – if not impossible – for them to play together without agreeing to take gigantic pay cuts. Unlike many of the topics on this list, however, this one could gain some traction. Roberts has previously talked about the possibility of eliminating them, and with the union’s executive committee now full of names like Chris Paul, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony — who all would likely command more than a maximum dollar amount in an open market — perhaps it’s something they would be interested in pursuing.
Now one team, the Warriors, has four of the top 20 players in the world: Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. The team that beat Golden State in the Finals, the Cavaliers, has three top-20 players: James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. That leaves 13 stars for the other 28 teams. Don't expect those teams to sit idly by. "The small markets can't survive in this new [environment]," said another team executive in a top-five market. Owners will almost certainly be clamoring for a harder cap, or a franchise tag, or perhaps the creation of a supermax contract to deter future superteams from being built.
Across the league, teams are shuddering at what awaits in 2017, when the cap will spike again to a projected $110 million, and an even bigger wave of stars will hit the market, including Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap.
Royce Young: One thing that has to be said: The league made this possible. The lockout was supposed to help small markets. It didn't. Instead, the new CBA forced OKC to trade Harden, then the inability to prepare or smooth the new cap allowed the Warriors to sign Durant.
Eric Pincus: Not new, but I've heard some owners hope to address the various tax benefits afforded by certain states like Texas, Florida in next CBA. Of course, "hope to address" doesn't equate to resolution but one of the many topics that will be on the table.
Eric Pincus: I have spoken to a # of agents, who have acknowledged that state taxes are part of the package they present to their FA when helping decide. True parity may be impossible in the NBA but equalizing state taxes is one of areas we might see change in CBA, potentially anyway
The 2011 lockout was about money, of course, but among the issues the NBA felt strongest was the idea of "competitive balance" -- the notion that some franchises, because of the financial disparities between various markets, could not realistically compete for championships. And so the NBA pushed for, and ultimately got, relief for those teams on two tracks: a dramatic giveback -- around $3 billion in salaries -- from its players, along with an enhanced revenue sharing program between teams, that transferred significantly more money from the league's relative haves to its have nots. Almost five years later, those changes have not done much to impact competitive balance in the NBA.
In the last 40 seasons, only 10 teams have won even one championship, and three of those 10 -- Portland, Washington and Seattle/OKC -- won their championships more than three decades ago, in consecutive seasons -- 1977, '78 and '79. None have won a championship since. Only seven teams have won a title since 1980. Seven. By contrast, since 1947, 23 different NFL teams have won championships. Of those 23 teams, 16 have won more than one title. Just in the Super Bowl era of the NFL -- 50 years -- there have been 19 different champions, led by the Pittsburgh Steelers, with six Lombardi trophies. Twelve NFL teams have won more than one Super Bowl. Since 1947, in Major League Baseball, 21 different teams have won World Series titles, led by the New York Yankees with 17. And of the 21 teams that have won a title during that time, 15 have won more than one title.
Wearable tech being allowed in NBA games is inching closer to becoming a reality. According to league sources, the NBA players union will be meeting on Tuesday with Whoop, a wearable tech company that recently made headlines after Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova illegally wore its biotracker wristband in games during almost all of March. On March 31, the league office was made aware of Dellavedova's wristband and informed the Cavs that Dellavedova could not wear the banned device in games. The team, nor Dellavedova, received a fine or suspension; Dellavedova has since stopped wearing it.
On Monday, Whoop's co-founder and CEO Will Ahmed would not confirm the upcoming meeting with the union, but issued a statement to ESPN regarding the legality of its device in American professional sports leagues. "We respect the privacy of all our clients and won't speak to our relationships with them. I think continuous monitoring is a new category that the leagues are right to carefully explore. At Whoop, we strive to empower athletes continuously. Monitoring strain during games is one piece of that equation and we look forward to working with all the professional leagues to empower athletes to better understand their bodies. To be clear, Whoop is a valuable asset independent of in game wear because of our activity, sleep and recovery analysis. But let's not deprive athletes of in game analysis. It's their careers at stake and data is not steroids."
Jordan’s emergence on the labor-relations committee – as well as the NBA’s competition committee – has strengthened his legitimacy as a league owner. Of course, consensus on a labor deal is a long way away, but those on the sides of the league and union all agree on this: Michael Jordan is a formidable factor in this process. After six years as a majority owner, Jordan has never been so relevant on that job. Beyond labor talks, the countdown to Charlotte hosting the 2017 NBA All-Star Game has started. Most of all: The Hornets are winning. The hiring of coach Steve Clifford has changed everything for the franchise, delivering the groundwork for a sustainable program and culture. Charlotte is 39-30, holding onto the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs – only 1½ games out of third place.
The irony isn’t lost on everyone. Eighteen years ago, Jordan sat on the players’ side and famously barked to Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, “If you can’t make a profit, you should sell your team.” Now, Jordan comes to the union as the franchise owner to whom revenue sharing delivered the most money in 2015, league sources said. All those years after becoming a major player on the union’s side in the 1998 lockout, Jordan’s voice on the labor-relations committee has largely been about making the league’s case for the revenue split between owners and players that funds cash payouts to small-market teams with the belief that it will promote competitive balance.
Are NBA stars the most underpaid athletes in professional sports? National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, via The Vertical Podcast with Woj: As long we understand I’m not negotiating, the answer is yes. And I don’t think that’s even debatable. These guys are enormously undervalued, and I hope that that’s not a secret, because it’s certainly the truth. Basketball players are the most recognizable athletes, I think, on the planet. I’ve travelled now to a couple of games outside of the country, and I almost wish that people could see how these guys are rock stars – not just here, but they are rock stars all over the world. Now, television helps. But it is just astounding to me how much love and regard people have for them, both because of their athletic prowess, but because, some of our players, because they’re just great men.
Michele Roberts was interviewed by Adrian Wojnarowski and was asked about the perception some people have that NBA players already make enough money, particularly when it comes to negotiating their split of basketball related income. "I'm not prepared to concede the narrative to those who think players make too much," said Roberts. "Part of what I think is not being talked about sufficiently is players are making money, owners are making money. "Forbes, we read just recently that the value of these teams, thank you Donald Sterling, we know what a team can make on the open market.
"I'm not going to say, well, 'I can't change the hearts and minds', perhaps I can't, but I'm not going to allow the narrative to be out there that the only people that are profiting from this game are the players and the poor owners are taking all of the risk and they're not enjoying any of this money. Oh, they are in a huge way. And the only question is whether the division of those dollars is a fair one.
Encouraging signs exist – even if there is a lockout – that regular-season games won’t be lost, as was the case in 2011. The two sides are meeting regularly, building relationships and trust. The league is dealing with new leadership on the union’s side: Michele Roberts, the NBPA executive director, has been on the job about 17 months and NBPA general counsel Gary Kohlman was hired at the start of the 2014-15 season. “My cause for optimism is based on to me the spirit of the discussions and the directness in which we’ve been dealing with each other,” Silver said.
The NBA Players Association has the option of ending the collective bargaining agreement following the 2016-17 season, but executive director Michele Roberts has said she would like to strike a new agreement. But that is quite optimistic. “There is an opt-out window in this current collective bargaining agreement, slightly less than a year from now,” said Silver. “I am encouraged by the fact that we have already begun direct discussions with the Players Association, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. Both of us, both sides, both our ownership and the executives of the Players Association, have stressed a strong interest in working things out at the table behind closed doors and avoiding any possible loss of games. So I remain optimistic that we will do that.”
Adam Silver was asked if he remains optimistic about the possibility of the owners agreeing to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players. "I remain optimistic, yes. There is an opt‑out window in this current collective bargaining agreement, slightly less than a year from now," said Silver. "I am encouraged by the fact that we have already begun direct discussions with the Players Association, and where there's a will, there's a way. Both of us, both sides, both our ownership and the executives of the Players Association, have stressed a strong interest in working things out at the table behind closed doors and avoiding any possible loss of games. So I remain optimistic that we will do that."
The CBA runs through June 30, 2021, but either side could opt out on June 30, 2017. To do so, it would have to notify the other side of its intent by Dec. 15, 2016. "We're at roughly a $70 million cap now, and we're anticipating going to $90 million, which is a dramatic increase," Silver said. "So I think we're going get an opportunity to look at free agent behavior -- how teams may react in terms of trades, how they may look at the draft differently, really at this summer for the first time."
"That said, it seems like the NBA and NBPA remain in disagreement about whether teams are profitable or losing money, and to me it's unclear whether some owners believe players would, after a lockout, give up an additional portion of BRI in a new CBA," McCann said. "So I agree it would seem strange to interrupt what has been a great era for the NBA, but I think there are financial considerations that could be more significant than they appear at this time."
“I’m not going to rank the relationship, as compared to other times,” Silver said. “I would only say that the relationship, from my standpoint, is very healthy right now between the league and the players’ association.” That sentiment was echoed by Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association. “The lines of communication have been really good,” Paul said. “Adam has asked for our input, and we appreciate that.”
There are significant risks associated with either side taking that bold step, which is why commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and their bargaining staffs met last week in New York to set the stage for the next 12 months. Only four years into the 10-year labor deal, league sources tell CBS Sports that the focus isn't for each side to persuade the other to stay the course. Rather, the mutual goal is to make significant progress on an entirely new labor deal by the time the opt-out deadline arrives. “The goal is to make that opt-out obsolete,” a person familiar with the process told CBS Sports. “… The goal is reaching a new long-term CBA.”
The rhetoric from Silver about the risks for the players in opting out has centered around the idea that the owners would bring back to the table two key provisions they were unable to achieve in the last negotiation: a hard salary cap and limits on guaranteed salaries. In October 2014, in the same news conference in which he revealed that one-third of the league's 30 teams still weren't profitable, Silver said, “My preference would be to have a harder cap.”
The ongoing internal dispute is fitting, since some of the biggest issues in the NBA's labor dynamic are not one side vs. the other, but within each camp. Some small- and mid-market teams still feel they are at a disadvantage when it comes to regional broadcast revenues that boost the larger markets' tolerance for paying luxury tax, league sources say. On the players' side, one of the unintended consequences of the agreement has been rampant spending on middle-of-the-road players, while the salaries of the league's biggest stars and revenue drivers are capped well below their true value.
Vincent Ellis: FYI: I gather owners are looking to Arn Tellem to provide insight during negotiations with the players on next labor deal. At latest Board of Governors meeting, Tellem briefed owners on his thoughts on the players' perspectives. Long-time agent, as you know. Tellem is one of the Pistons' reps on board of governors. Tellem could eventually play a role in the actual negotiations with the players.
The NBPA and the NBA have an option to terminate their Collective Bargaining Agreement on or before Dec. 15, 2016. Roberts, however, is optimistic that the NBPA and the NBA will reach agreement on a new CBA beforehand. She said she has been having positive regular monthly lunch meetings with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Roberts hopes to begin negotiations with the NBA on a new CBA in November.
Silver "says he does not want a work stoppage," Roberts said. "And I said, 'You know what, neither do we.' We have that common ground. … I wasn't there, but I've been told and I read, that during the last negotiations that the owners were very clear that there would be a substantial reduction modification of the [basketball-related income]. I guess they were serious because they locked the players out before they got what they wanted. That's not how we are beginning these negotiations.
Q: How confident are you that the NBA will avoid another work stoppage when it comes time to negotiate a new CBA? Paul Allen: "That is so hard to predict and I'm sure if I did predict it, I'd get fined. So I'm not going to try to predict. Clearly the league and the players are doing very well financially with these new contracts. So there are ongoing discussions but I can't comment any further than that."
One concept that is gaining momentum in league circles -- proposed here by SB Nation's Tom Ziller -- is to end the league year between the Finals and the draft. That way, the lawyers and accountants would have plenty of time to close the books, and any revenue and expenses associated with the draft would be shifted to the following league year. This makes sense, since the draft is essentially the first event of each new NBA season.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 322 more rumors
More HoopsHype Rumors
July 27, 2021 | 11:06 am EDT Update

Bryn Forbes to decline option with Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks guard Bryn Forbes is declining his player option for the 2021-22 season and will become an unrestricted free agent, sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Forbes played a significant role off the bench as the Bucks delivered the franchise’s first NBA championship in 50 years. He had his most efficient NBA season in several offensive categories, including 3-point percentage and true shooting percentage. Forbes, 28, was fourth in the NBA in 3-point shooting (45.2%) — and third best among players with 200-plus attempts. Forbes averaged 12.2 points on 48% 3-point shooting in February when starting guard Jrue Holiday was sidelined.
Davis suffered a knee sprain in Game 3 but played through the pain in Game 4; however, he took a hard fall in Game 4 and suffered a groin strain. From that moment on, the balance of the firepower tilted towards Phoenix, who ensued to blow out the Lakers in the final games of the series. Though it’ll never be known how things would’ve transpired with a healthy Davis, Metta World Peace believes the Lakers would’ve advanced when discussing his thoughts on the Bucks-Suns matchup and Giannis Antetokounmpo being a great player, via Chris Sheridan of BasketballNews.com: “Now imagine, Giannis, one of the greatest players in the league, doesn’t really have to go up against the greatest team, then you would say Giannis was going to win. Because the Lakers got hurt. The Lakers were going to beat Phoenix before Anthony Davis got hurt.”
The Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of hiring Igor Kokoskov to join Jason Kidd’s coaching staff, sources confirmed to ESPN. Kokoskov, whose two decades of NBA experience includes a one-season stint as the Phoenix Suns’ head coach, has a strong relationship with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic stemming from his time coaching the Slovenian national team. Kokoskov coached Slovenia for two years, culminating with the EuroBasket 2017 title, when Doncic and Goran Dragic led the nation to its first championship in that event.
Storyline: Igor Kokoskov Contract
Ahead of the 2021 NBA draft, projected top overall pick Cade Cunningham has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike. After a COVID-19-impacted market found a majority of last season’s rookies playing out the 2020-21 season without a sneaker deal, brands are now returning to aggressively sign top players heading into this week’s draft. Nike had its eyes set on Cunningham, who starred at Nike-sponsored Oklahoma State University and has long had an affinity for the brand. “More than anything, they show that athletes are more than just athletes,” Cunningham told ESPN. “They really put the right message out for people to see. That was important to me. … I felt like it was a perfect match for me.”