NBA: What the Collective Bargaining Agreement Should Look Like

John Anthony PendasContributor IJune 16, 2011

NBA Commissioner David Stern
NBA Commissioner David SternMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

As we speak, NBA owners and players are beginning to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). This article will not, however, analyze each entity's arguments.

Rather, this article is to serve as a solution to the ongoing dispute.  I will, to the best of my ability, provide the parameters of what the new CBA should look like.

Salary Cap 

The argument ongoing over the salary cap involves getting rid of the current soft cap and luxury tax caps and just adding a hard cap.  In a perfect world, I would love to see something similar to baseball where there is no salary cap but let's be real...that will never happen.

We cannot institute a hard cap near the range that has been suggested (43 million).  Every team in the league has grown used to adjusting their salaries around the luxury tax.  The best solution would be to introduce a hard cap at $75 million.

The NBA is thriving now more than ever and if we were to drop the salary cap significantly, then we will wind up with a league where the talent is spread out all over but the overall greatness of teams diminishes.

This sudden need to institute a hard cap is to prevent top free agents from getting together on one team. In other words, it's the "prevent Miami Heat from happening" provision.

Smaller market owners complain that they cannot compete against the bigger markets and that it's hard for them to keep their franchise players.

Last I checked under the current rules, players drafted or signed by a team do not become unrestricted free agents until seven years after joining that team.

I guess seven years is not enough time for a smaller market team to get their superstar help and make them contenders?

It's frustrating to see billionaires who have made their money through a capitalist system all of a sudden become Marxist when it involves their bottom dollar.

Why should big market teams not have the right to spend more and take more risk then their counterparts? They make more money, so they should be able to gamble at times with player moves.

Yes, the margin for error for smaller market teams is minuscule, but don't tell San Antonio and Oklahoma City that, because despite that they have figured out how to work under the current system.

Like any investment, in order to see a return you have to produce a product people will enjoy. Smaller market owners need to start thinking of their teams in that way and stop giving us teams like the Timberwolves and Raptors.


Player Contracts

Under the current system, contracts vary in length and money depending on whether you're a max player or have been with a franchise a number of years.  In my opinion, there are too many rules and sub rules that affect the overall contract.

No more restrictions on the amount of money you can make if you leave your team. Whether owners like to hear it or not the regulations regarding contracts have heavily favored them over the years. Why should a player be penalized for choosing to play on another team?

The new solution to make both sides happy? Once a team signs or drafts a player they will own his rights for a total of four years. After four years if the player so chooses to leave the team and join another team, the length and monetary value will not be affected.

Gone are the days of the restricted free agent.  After four years, every player may become a free agent if they so choose.  

However, if they inform their current team that they will not be joining the free agent market, then only their current team has the right to negotiate contracts with them. The latter part of the rule shall be named the Boozer clause.

As far as rookie contracts go, they should all be four years in length and vary in monetary value depending on where they were drafted.  Second-round player contracts similar to first round should also be guaranteed.

Institute more of a free market system for free agents.  Once the initial four-year holding period of the player's rights expires, then each player eligible may sign with any team he chooses for whatever length and amount as agreed upon.

Players in the end will get what they want while at the same time not holding a team hostage by demanding a trade.



There are more specific details that were not touched upon in this article, mainly because I feel these are the most important aspects of the agreement.

Will any of this be implemented? Probably not, but if it were, the league would continue to thrive as it did this year.

As much as people hate on the Miami Heat, a lot of owners have them to thank for the spike in ratings and sales when they came to town.

How do I know that the Heat are on everyone's minds still? The Mavericks won the championship , correct? Yet, all the national media seems to talk about revolves around the Heat and LeBron specifically.  

Let me be the one to congratulate Dallas on a great NBA Finals. They should be the topic of conversation. Since when has coming in second mattered in professional sports? It's those who come in first that deserve all the attention.