NBA and players' union agree on CBA
San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) - The National Basketball Association and its players' union announced at a Tuesday afternoon press conference the terms of a new six-year collective bargaining agreement.
NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter were on hand at a joint press conference at the SBC Center to discuss the agreement in principle.
The sides finally came to a compromise on several key issues that had hampered negotiations between the owners and players for several months.
"This new agreement creates a strong partnership with our players, which is critical to our prospects for continued growth on a global basis," said Stern. "Once the deal is finalized, the NBA and its players will be able to focus on the enormous opportunities we have together."
The new CBA includes a three percent increase in the salary cap, a reduction in the luxury tax, a decrease in the escrow withholding over the term of the deal (10 percent to 8 percent) and a guarantee by the league that the players will receive at least 57 percent of basketball related income, which will increase as the revenue goes up.
Under the new agreement, the maximum length of player contracts will now be reduced from seven to six years for a club's own players and from six to five years for players signing with a new team. Also, maximum annual increases in salaries will be decreased from 12 1/2 percent to 10 1/2 percent for players re- signing with their current teams, while the number will be reduced from 10 percent to eight percent for free agents trying to sign with new teams.
Meanwhile, the minimum draft entry age will be increased from 18 to 19 years or the individual must be at least one year removed from high school. Any player who is not 19 by draft night is ineligible to declare for the NBA. Teams will also be given the option of assigning players with less than two years of experience to the NBA Development League (NBDL). In addition, all foreign-born players must be 18-years-old on draft night to be eligible.
The number of random drug tests as well as the consequences for violations will be increased and each player will be subjected to four tests each season. The league will now guarantee that on average all teams will have rosters consisting of 14 players and any player suspended for more than 12 games for on-court behavior will have the opportunity to appeal the suspension in front of a neutral arbitrator.
"Although a definitive written agreement must still be completed, we believe we have reached the framework for a deal that preserves and enhances gains that the players have made under the expiring agreement," Hunter added. "The new CBA deals fairly with the issues that are important to the league, and gives our sport the continuity that will be so important to its growth and to its fans."
Because of this, the moratorium on free agent signings presently scheduled to expire on July 14th will now run to July 22nd. During this period, summer leagues may take place, rookies can be signed, and free agents will be permitted to negotiate with teams, but will not be able to sign any new contracts.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the league's Board of Governors and the members of the players' union at next week's meeting in Las Vegas.