NEW YORK — When it came time to be flexible, the commissioner who once called himself “Easy Dave” moved like he was Shakira.
David Stern and the NBA’s team owners made concessions on several key issues, both financial and system-related, to get the NBA lockout settled in the wee hours of the morning today at the close of a 15-hour bargaining session.
Here are some of the key details of those moves, according to a league source who was privy to the details of the tentative agreement and shared those details with SheridanHoops.com.
_ On the financial split, the players will receive between 49 and 51 percent of revenues, depending on annual growth. The players had complained prior to Saturday that the owners’ previous offer effectively limited them to 50.2 percent of revenues, but the source said 51 percent was now reasonably achievable with robust growth.
_Owners dropped their insistence on what would have been known as the Carmelo Anthony rule, preventing teams from executing extend-and-trade deals similar to the one that sent Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks last season. This means that if Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Chris Paul want to leverage their way out of Orlando, New Jersey and New Orleans, they will still be eligible to sign three-year extensions with their current teams before being immediately traded elsewhere.
_ Teams above the salary cap will be able to offer four-year mid-level exception contracts to free agents each season. Previously, owners were asking that teams be limited to offering a four-year deal one year, a three-year deal the next, then four, then three, etc.
_ The rookie salary scale and veteran minimum salaries will stay the same as they were last season. Owners had been seeking 12 percent cuts.
_ Qualifying offers to restricted free agents will become “significantly” improved. The sides had already agreed to reduce the time for a team to match an offer to a restricted free agent from 7 days to 3.
_ A new $2.5 million exception will be available to teams that go below the salary cap, then use all of their cap room to sign free agents. Once they are back above the cap, they will be able to use the new exception instead of being limited to filling out their rosters with players on minimum contracts.
_ The prohibition on luxury tax-paying teams from executing sign-and-trade deals was loosened, although the freedom to execute those types of deals will still be limited.
Both sides will have the option to opt out of the 10-year deal after six years. Stern said he does not expect unanimous support from the owners, who will vote on the tentative agreement after the owners’ full negotiating committee receives a rundown of what is in the new deal.
Players also must ratify the agreement, a process that could take as long as a week while the union, which dissolved itself last week by issuing a disclaimer of interest, is reconstituted.
But if both constituencies sign off on the agreement, training camps and free agency will open simultaneously on Dec. 9, and the season will start with a tripleheader — Boston-New York, Chicago-L.A. Lakers and Miami-Dallas (a rematch of the NBA Finals) — on Dec. 25.
Both Stern and Hunter appeared visibly drained from the 15-hour bargaining session, which ended at 3 a.m. local time.
The ownership side was most pleased with added restrictions and more punitive tax rates on teams that exceed the luxury tax threshold, feeling the new system will ensure a greater degree of competitive balance than existed under the previous agreement. Also, the financial concessions made by the players could total as much as $3 billion over the next 10 years.
“It will largely prevent the high spending teams from competing in the free agent market the way they have in the past," deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. "The luxury tax is harsher than it was in the last deal, and we hope it’s effective. You never can be sure with how a new system will work, but we feel ultimately it will give fans in each community hope that they can compete for championships, and that their basis for believing in their team will be a function of management of that team, rather than how deep the owner's pockets are or how large the market is."
The deal also includes an amnesty provision, which will allow teams to cut one player from their roster whose salary will not fully count against the salary cap or luxury tax. Chris Bernucca has already written a column on the most likely amnesty candidates, so go ahead and click here to read it.
Also, if you want to know who the top 20 free agents are, Bernucca has you covered there, too, with this column.
There are going to be a lot of questions for all 30 teams, and that piece has been written too. Yep, Bernucca. Please follow him on Twitter. He only opened his account recently, and his follower count as of 6 a.m. EST is smaller than both the owners’ and players’ share of BRI.
Sounds like the Miami Heat are the big winners. Looks like they’ll be ruling the league for the next half decade.
And the winners are: Lakers, Mavs, Heat and Knicks.
The rest of the league will continue being losers.
Cause the Knicks have a history of winning? Whining maybe. Certainly not winning.
History of driving up player costs for other teams.
Finally! I get to see Rubiooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!! 🙂
Thanks for the great site and coverage of the lockout Chris. I’m looking forward to the NBA, and the crazy condensed off-season we’re about to witness.
Does this deal eliminate the chances of Dwight coming to LA via a sign and trade?
Chris Sheridan says
Not at all. If anything, it enhances them because Dwight can try to force a deal there, and he can do a three-year extension via the extend-and-trade rule that was kept intact.
Kirk Berger says
Any word on whether Tax paying teams can use MLE. Additionally, was the 51-49 band changed to make is easier for players to get to 51%
Tax paying teams get their own mini-MLE valued at 3 million per year for 3 years. They cannot use the $5 million, 4 year MLE.
big Magic fan here, hope the Magic get rid of Arenas w/ amnesty and try to add a big piece to keep the Beast in the Southeast in the Sunshine State….really hope this isnt D howard last year w/ Magic
I just read on ESPN that the details to the revenue sharing plan still haven’t been completed yet and they still have plenty of work to do there. If that isn’t further indication as to how wrong the owners have been throughout this entire process, I don’t know what is.
If there is anything we can all agree the league needs to do, it’s revenue sharing. And the owners still haven’t worked that out. I maintain they have made virtually no concessions this entire process and this is still exhibit A.
Chris Sheridan says
Owners always said they would wait to finalize their revenue sharing agreement until after they knew what the deal looked like. They held their ground on that.
Ok, thanks for that information. I had not heard that was their plan all along. I’ll be very interested to see with what they come up with.
The NBA should have been more solid and at least got the Melo Rule put in this new deal. Another 6-10 years of the same bull!
Amazing.after all this,some of you are still bitching.time to start the healing process. Great job with the coverage chris.
Chris Sheridan says
Thanks, Peabody. Appreciate your comment.
Is there a 2 year rule for NBA entrants or 20 year old age rule now?
Chris Sheridan says
That is one of the B-list issues that remains to be determined, but rule will likely stay the way it was, at least in the broadest sense. In other words, no change to 18-year-old or 20-year-old requirement.
I’m real curious about the draft age now, I’m hoping it goes up one more year, it will make basketball better all around
I disagree, but that’s probably because I don’t see the benefit of NBA small forwards getting trained as NCAA PFs. It’d be one thing if the NCAA used the same rules and actually focused on developing players instead of just trying to get the most out of them at a lower level of competition. And it’s not like players *can’t* stay if they think it’s worth it to them.
Really, the only people who would benefit from lengthening the age restrictions would be the NCAA, and since when is the NBA in the business of promoting another competing organization at their own expense?
The one-year rule is there just to make the draft less of a gamble. That’s it.
If the NCAA wants to keep players longer, they need to make it worth their while, and that’s gonna be hard when they don’t get paid, can’t have agents, and can get suspended for being “caught” having a consentual adult relationship (lookin at you, BYU).
As a fan of both leagues I hope they alter the ‘1&done rule’. Make it 2/3 years of college or 1 year in another professional league say like the D league. The main benefit of the 1&done is the free advertisement ESPN gives the college players. A Durant or Rose comes into the league a known quantity and a very marketable player.
Well written pieces Chris. I find your stories very often interesting. You covered the lockout well. Good job!
Chris Sheridan says
Thanks, Pat. The sad thing is they could have done this deal weeks ago. Stern came to the table ready to save the season yesterday and did what it takes. At a certain point, he had to get Hunter on board to ensure ratification.
The owners gave it up quicker than a 2 dollar hooker! I don’t know, but I think I’m even more pissed off now (not that I don’t want to see hoops) they just caved on everything.
The more I think about it though, I’m 100% happy as hell that we have hoops back, the lock out will be a distant memory soon enough. Merry Christmas NBA Fanski’s.
Thanks to Chris for all this hard work too, I’m forever a Sheridanhoops.com enthusiast.
Agree on the Sheridan part. Chris is a good guy. He needs to put up an amazon link portal to assist with site revenue.
Meh. Sounds like the majority of the owners sold out for the status quo CBA and the ability to put a few extra nickels in their pocket. Not much in here for the small markets.
Just imagine if someone proposed in the NFL that the current power teams like Pitt, GB, NE, SF, NYG and Dallas all could suddenly get a 175 million dollar salary cap but the other 26 teams had to remain at about 125 million. The outcry would be huge as to an unfair disparity. NFL media members would rally against the ludacrisp nature of such a system.
But hey, we celebrate that in the NBA. And sign up for another six years of it. Maybe ten.
I will give this a chance. But it isn’t going to do much to help grow overall revenues and the sport. Stern still presides over the WWE league he created.
Yeah, I’m a little surprised to see the *extra* $2.5m exception. That might actually be a “real” concession. Making the mid-level smaller kinds helps teams like the Heat if they’re not changing the salary cap for a couple of years. So now the “mid level guy” is cheaper, but there’s just as much room as before to sign him.
Personally, I’m a little annoyed that the owners really *were* just waiting for the union to dissolve. They made a lot of unnecessary bad blood with those all-bluster ultimatums.
One good thing is that the national TV presence hasn’t gotten screwed up too much if the league can start on Christmas. That should help the NBA negotiate a better TV contract when the current one expires, which should be the biggest “overall revenues” growth factor anyway.
I think the shorter contracts is a boon all-around. Amnesty clause is 98% win-win (poor OKC, i guess).
At least NBA 2k12 can release their rookie rosters.