The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have held further positive talks regarding a new collective bargaining agreement, and are hopeful of coming to an agreement in the coming weeks, according to Shams Charania. The two sides recently extended their mutual opt-out deadline for the current CBA until March 31.
Discussions have been going on for months, and both parties are motivated to get a deal done. Per The Athletic, recent progress on key issues such as luxury tax tiers, lowering the age eligibility for the draft and load management has created a sense of hope that a deal is close. “It’s close — we need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” a high-ranking source on the players’ side said.
Regarding the luxury tax system, the league and the players are planning to increase the lower tier in order to more accurately reflect the rise in salaries across the league. Under the current system, teams that are between $0-$4,999,999 over the cap are taxed at a rate of $1.50 for every dollar over the cap, while teams that are $5,000,000-$9,999,999 over the cap are taxed at $1.75 for every dollar they are over the cap. The two sides are working on a plan that would raise the first bracket and soften the blow for teams in that tier, while also increasing the penalty on teams in the upper bracket.
Another important topic is the age limit. Back in 2005, then-commissioner David Stern implemented a new rule that required players to be 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft. That limit, which helped create the one-and-done system in college basketball and forced some prospects to consider their options overseas, has been in place ever since. In recent years, however, it has come under fire, and even current commissioner Adam Silver has advocated for lowering the age limit back to 18 and allowing high school players to once again enter the draft.
“I think there’s an opportunity [to change it],”. “It’s [based on] larger conversations than just whether we go from 19 to 18, but I’m on record: When I balance all of these various considerations, I think that would be the right thing to do and I am hopeful that that’s a change we make in this next collective bargaining cycle, which will happen in the next couple years.”
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While both sides are in favor of lowering the age limit, the players want protections put in place to prevent veterans from being driven out of the league by younger players on cheaper contracts.
The current CBA runs through the 2023-24 season, and both sides want to come to an agreement before then in order to prevent a work stoppage. As of now, all signs point to a deal getting done.