The NBA and the NBA Players Association have the option to opt out of the league's current collective bargaining agreement in the summer of 2017, but Commissioner Adam Silver doesn't think tensions will rise to the point that such action will be necessary.
Speaking with Rachel Nichols on Wednesday's edition of The Jump on ESPN (via ESPN.com), Silver explained the reasoning behind his optimism as the opt-out date moves closer:
The tenor has been very positive. I mean the tenor is -- we have an obligation to the game. I mean even those words have been used in the meetings. And so I think we're starting very early in our discussions. We're approaching it in a very serious way. And so I'm extraordinarily optimistic that we're gonna work through our issues and get something done.
The league's current CBA was struck following the 2011 lockout, but an impending salary-cap spike could complicate matters.
After the league inked a nine-year, $24 billion television rights deal, the NBA and the NBPA had the option to choose a salary-cap-smoothing proposal that would have spread out increases in player compensation over several seasons, but the players' union rejected the offer.
"The fact that all of this cap room is gonna come in at once and so we're gonna have roughly a $20 million increase from about $70 million to $90 million in the cap in one summer is not how we would have constructed it," Silver said, per ESPN.com.
|Season||Expected Cap Number|
|2015-16||$70 million (previous all-time high)|
As a result of that whopping increase, big-market teams that previously would have been strapped for cap space will now have more financial flexibility—which in turn could strip franchises residing in smaller markets of fiscal advantages they once had.
Thus, the fear of superstars teaming up and draining the league of parity has emerged as a real concern. However, Silver dispelled the notion that superteams always wind up succeeding simply based on the talent they assemble on paper.
"I think All-Stars are also made by being part—of great teams," Silver said, according to ESPN.com. "I'm sure that as we talk about the collective bargaining agreement, these are the kinds of issues we of course will address. And that is competitive balance around the league."
The Golden State Warriors—and the San Antonio Spurs before them—are the perfect example of a team that has grown organically (see: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green) and maximized the talents of its key contributors through internal growth, so there's certainly a track record of success there.
But at this point, one thing is certain: With Kevin Durant set to hit the open market this summer and point guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook expected to test free agency the following year, the competition to sign top talent is set to enter uncharted waters.