Report: NBA, NBPA to Hold 'Serious Talks' on New CBA 'Across Coming Months'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 8, 2022

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Representatives for the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met Wednesday in Boston to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski reported the two parties "are preparing for serious talks on a new CBA across coming months." The league and the players union both have the ability to opt out of the current CBA in December.

While negotiations between the NBA and NBPA are likely to be long and tense at times, there doesn't appear to be the kind of tension that could presage major strife.

In March, Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne compared the NBA's labor situation to that of MLB, which was in the middle of a lockout. Wojnarowski said the league and players union have a "very different" dynamic between players and owners in MLB, which he described as an "adversarial relationship." Shelburne added the NBA and NBPA "have an interest in not having another lockout."

The 2011-12 season was shortened from 82 games to 66 because a lockout delayed the start of the season until mid-December.

ESPN's Zach Lowe provided a hint at what could be important issues at the negotiating table when he reported Tuesday that rival teams were "already grumbling" about a perceived "competitive spending advantage" for the Golden State Warriors. He added that some front-office executives and team governors "have in the last few years proposed tweaks to the tax system that might provide some relief on specific contracts tied to homegrown players."

The last CBA created the "designated veteran player exception," which allowed a player to earn more than the max contract if he met certain criteria. It was intended to help teams more easily retain their top stars.

However, supermax contracts have occasionally become millstones on a team's payroll as in the case of John Wall and Russell Westbrook.

The next CBA could address that concern along with bridging the gulf between other franchises and the Warriors.

In addition, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made it known how much he'd like to see an in-season tournament added to the schedule, and he has signaled a willingness to shorten the regular season.

On both fronts, he'd need to get the players on board.

New Orleans Pelicans star CJ McCollum, who's the president of the NBPA, said Tuesday on First Take he couldn't support a 58-game schedule but would be willing to consider a 72-game slate.

Perhaps more than anything, the NBA and the players union will want to account for the windfall that's on the horizon with the league's national television deals due to expire following the 2024-25 season. CNBC's Jabari Young cited one source in March 2021 who said the NBA might be able to command $70.2 billion total over nine years from its next round of TV contracts.