“I want to stress the importance of our main goal. That this an association that will be led by the players. They will determine the course and who will be the president,” he added. “The NBPA is doing a very good job for many decades. The good thing is that I personally have a very relationship with them. They are very supportive of what we are trying to do here. And I think they will be supportive not only on a personal level but also as an organization to organization,” Nachbar answered when asked if there is any model to be followed like the NBPA. “I can say that they are looking forward to having a full-time partner on the other side of the ocean because there are many EuroLeague players going to the NBA and from the NBA to EuroLeague. Obviously, they are far more ahead but having their support is very important for us.”
Q: Will the players get a cut? Brian Windhorst: Absolutely. Sponsorships fall under basketball-related income (BRI), and the players get 50 percent of that money. Also, in the recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the union negotiated that income from gambling falls under BRI and will be shared with the players. This is the new vein of revenue for the league. Q: What impact will that have on the salary cap? And when? Brian Windhorst: After a modest increase in the cap this season, the NBA is projecting the salary cap to inflate by $7 million in 2019. The league hasn’t explained the reason, but some of that projection might include some anticipated new gambling-related revenue. It will probably take a year or two for states to get operations fully up and running before possible ancillary money flows to the NBA.
Q: What is the league doing to protect the integrity of the game? Brian Windhorst: The league already hires firms to monitor all legal betting across the globe. I’ve personally seen the operations at one of them — Sportradar, in London — and it’s impressive. It has busted match-fixing in many sports. Of course, these firms can’t monitor illegal betting, which is why moving this to a legal framework is better for everyone. But the league is pushing for regulations in all states, such as banning certain prop bets that could be easy to manipulate. For example, who gets called for the first foul in a game is somewhat ripe for exploitation, so the league wouldn’t want to allow bets like that. For other in-game wagers — like, say, who will score the next basket — the league has sought to keep relatively low limits on the size of those bets to fight the temptation for corruption. It’s hard to try to buy off a player making millions if the most anyone can spend on a prop bet is $100.
The upcoming August meeting, Spruell said, will be the most ambitious yet — 10 to 12 players, 10 to 12 coaches and 10 to 12 officials. There may be other forums such as golf outings and other team-building exercises between players, coaches and referees as well off the court and continue. And in addition, he said, the league is kicking around the idea of inviting some fans of various teams in to the August meeting to try and demystify the process and allow them to provide their perspective — as the only constituency that has to pay to get into the event, after all, they may see things a little differently than everyone else — again, especially at this time of year. “We want to bring those people into the tent as well,” Spruell said. “Maybe not the ones who are so corrosive and will never change their minds (about officials) … but the folks that bring a different point of view, we absolutely want to bring them in the tent and deal with that sort of perspective, to see what movement we can make with those type of core fans who are so bought into kind of being a homer, or etcetra., who are so hard pressed to be homers. I have no problem to bring some folks like that into the tent for some part of the Council … to be able to dispel the myths and conspiracy theories that are out there with some fans, and fold them into the Council in some form or fashion. I’m absolutely open to that, because I think it can help us with additional perspective.”
McCutcheon said the league, players and coaches have good templates of how the games themselves should look, even as competition and the desire to win may color everyone’s perspectives at crucial moments. The sweet spot is finding common ground when there is disagreement — not muting passion or wanting to win, but also not putting officials in a position “where they stand on high and they are unassailable in their perfection,” McCutchen said. “We all know that’s not true. We know we make mistakes.” But there is still a “vacuum of knowledge about our profession,” he said. “If we’re open to sharing the upright and the upstanding and integrity-based work that we do, out of a natural extension of that, people who are filling in those brackets with their ideas will come to a different understanding of the outcome,” McCutchen said.
The NBA allows high school players to enter the G League without the wait. The Commission on College Basketball recommended Wednesday that the NBA and NBPA allow high school players to enter the draft, but college basketball has no ability to effect change on the issue. The NBA and NBPA must collectively bargain a change of the early entry rule. The Commission on College Basketball made a recommendation to allow college players who declare for the NBA draft to retain their eligibility should they go unselected in the draft.