It only took 149 days but the NBA Lockout is coming to an end pending approval of the tentative agreement reached just after 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. After it appeared that both sides were straightjacketed in their positions they emerged from a 15 hour “settlement” session with proclamations of a tentative deal.
Both sides claim to have realized the importance of coming back to the negotiating table as a result of the calendar. Stalling further would have certainly meant cancellation of the season and the potential of heavy litigation that neither side really wanted any part of.
I am sure some of the major sponsors and TV partners also applied some pressure to the NBA as well but that is another story.
So after nearly 5 full months have been wasted here are some of the specifics of the settlement agreement according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports with a short layman’s explanation. Keep in mind there many details yet to be decided but these were the “A” list items that prevented the season from starting on time.
• Free agency and Training Camp will begin simultaneously on December 9 while the *66 game NBA regular season will begin on December 25 with its original slate of Christmas Day games. (Celtics vs. Knicks, Heat vs. Mavericks, Bulls vs. Lakers)
If you follow the NFL you remember the insane free agency period they had after their lockout was settled. What the NBA is proposing is basically free agency on crack or speed.
A 66 game season is sure to be full of injuries as there are rumors that teams will be forced to be play 3 games in 3 nights on multiple occasions. Heaven knows that not all of these millionaire players have been staying in shape.
• BRI split: The players will receive anywhere from 49 percent to 51 percent of basketball-related income based on revenue projections.
The players will receive 51.2% this year but the rate will vary depending on how much revenue is actually generated for the rest of the agreement. Say we think revenue will be $100 if it is $100 then both sides will split it 50/50. If its less than $100 the players will receive 49%. If its more than $100 the players will get 51%.
• Maximum contract lengths: five years for Larry Bird rights players; four years for non-Bird players.
Let’s face it there are lots of bad contracts out there. This change basically shaves a year off maximum contracts used in these exceptions previously. The league believe shorter contracts also will encourage player movement, which in theory is true.
Congratulations to Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams! As they are the biggest free agent to be names out there right now they will be able to sign lucrative extensions and be traded to a destination of their choice (in theory) as result of this rule staying in. Rumor is this this rule will cease to exist after year 3 of the agreement but by then they won’t care. Howard might be in Laker uniform, Paul in a Knicks uni, and Williams who knows. The league wants this provision “ixnayed” to help competitive balance.
• Escrow pool: Ten percent of player salaries will be held each year.
Think of it as social security being withheld from your check. Players will have this amount withheld to help facilitate “league purposes” which include keeping the smaller market teams (Milwaukee, Charlotte, Minnesota, etc) out of the “red” and contributions to the NBPA retired players fund.
• Teams now have three days to match offer sheets given to their own restricted free agents.
Teams will have to hurry up and make up their minds if they want to keep players who receive other offers. They used to have 7 days instead of the 3 proposed now.
• Minimum team salary increases to 85 percent of the salary cap in the first two years of the deal and 90 percent of the cap in the years thereafter.
Teams will have to operate at a higher minimum payroll than before. If the salary cap is 58.5 million no team can have a payroll less than 49.7 million forcing the “mula” to be spent on someone who might not necessarily be deserving. Big win for the players on this one to combat the cheapskate owners.
• Each team has one amnesty clause to use on a player currently under contract. The players’ salary will be removed from the team’s cap.
Amnesty is nice way of saying cut or waived. It is basically a 100% buyout of the player’s contract without counting against the team’s salary cap. So lets take Rashard Lewis for example (this is no coincidence). The Wizards will be able to amnesty him, then wait to see if a team picks up the (cough cough) $46 million owed to him over the next two years.
When that doesn’t happen he will be able to negotiate a more sensible deal with a another team. Let say he is paid 5 million by team B, then the Wizards would be on the hook for the remaining $41 million and could actually watch Rashard play against them.
Imagine paying someone millions of dollars to play against you! Seems almost criminal! But in the case of Lewis maybe it’s not.
Obviously there is a lot more to the deal but those are some of the major points.
In the end millions were still lost and thousands have lost jobs as a result of this lockout. We will see if this Christmas Day start can restore some order to the lives of those who depend on the sport that abandoned them for nearly 5 months.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com