Author: Jeremy Shapiro
Just in time for the holiday season, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) players and owners agreed to a ten-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with an opt-out option for either side after six years. The deal came one month after the season was scheduled to tip off and ended the 149-day money battle that left fans irritated and the season in jeopardy. Many believed that greed fueled the lockout, and questioned how the highest paid athletes in North America and billionaire owners desired more money. In the end, the two sides agreed on a 66-game season that begins on Christmas Day.
While the agreement has not been etched in stone just yet, NBA fans and league analysts have already begun analyzing the stipulations of the agreement. The revenue split, which originally granted the players 57 percent of the basketball related income, has been lowered to 51 percent as opposed to 49 percent for the owners. The owners succeeded in their attempt to create salary restrictions, allowing for small-market teams to be more competitive in free agent signings and on the court. The primary goal for owners during the labor dispute was to make more money as a way to stem annual losses of over $300 million due to player salaries, decreased attendance and other external factors.
On the other hand, the players have also benefited from the new CBA. Most notably, a hard salary cap was prevented, which would have drastically restrained their annual pay. Athletes also ended up with shorter contracts, which can be both positive and negative. Those who continue to win, produce on the court and stay healthy will hit the market sooner and more often, enabling them to sign contracts with teams capable of competing in terms of payroll. Shorter contracts will hurt players who don’t perform well on the court and those who recover slowly from injuries.
The NBA season will begin on Christmas Day due to the long deliberation process that has now slowed down free agency and preseason training. A triple-header will begin with the Chicago Bulls travelling to play the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics facing off against the New York Knicks. The Miami Heat look to avenge last year’s epic finals loss against the reigning NBA champion, Dallas Mavericks, in what will likely be the most televised regular season game in NBA history.
If one is looking for a clear-cut winner from the new CBA, it looks like the owners emerged victorious. But at the end of the day, both sides are settled and prepared for NBA action opening day.
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