NBA Players Union Agree on Terms Through the 2028-29 Season

NBA Players Union Agree on Terms Through the 2028-29 Season

photo National Basketball Association

As of April 1, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)  and the NBA have agreed on a seven-year collective bargaining agreement. This agreement will be implemented starting the 2023-2024 NBA season, as the NBA Board of Governors and the NBA players ratified it.

The NBPA is the union for NBA players. The collective bargaining agreement sets the rules for player contracts, trades, revenue distribution, the NBA Draft and salary.

The agreement brings many changes to the NBA, following a trend that the league is trying to change its norms.

Adding the play-in tournament in 2022 increases revenue with the extra six games a year — an obvious incentive for ownership and the NBA.

The play-in also adds an interesting change where teams need to win a do-or-die game instead of a seven-game series to continue their championship dreams—a change of scenery for the fans.

It also provides the ninth and 10th seats in each conference the ability to still make the postseason after a lackluster regular season, a chance they wouldn’t get before the play-in.

The most significant change in this deal is the addition of a mid-season tournament. The details aren’t entirely figured out, but ESPN reported that “the in-season tournament could arrive as soon as the 2023-24 season. The event will include pool-play games baked into the regular-season schedule starting in November — with eight teams advancing to a single-elimination tournament in December. The Final Four will be held at a neutral site, with Las Vegas prominent in the discussion.”

This change will create rivalries between teams that come into the postseason with high seating but never seem to make it all the way.

This would punish teams who didn’t perform at the beginning of the season, like the Lakers this year, who are still in the playoffs. And reward high-seated teams who saw early exits, like the Kings, Bucks and Grizzlies.

The league made significant strides in trying to make the league a fairer place. To curb the spending of big market teams, the league will implement a second salary cap apron, $17.5 million over the tax line.

This won’t allow big market teams to keep adding talent while being over the cap limit. ESPN’s sources think this salary cap apron will eliminate “several key team building mechanisms, including the taxpayer mid-level exception, utilizing cash in trades, moving first-round picks in drafts that are seven years away, signing free agent players in the buyout market and taking on more money than is being sent out in trades.”

This means teams that have been on top for the past few seasons, such as the Bucks, Clippers, Celtics, Lakers, Warriors, and my 2K MyLeague team, might not be able to retain their core pieces once the cap apron comes into effect.

Debates for whether or not a player played enough games to be eligible for awards will no longer exist. It is now mandatory to play 65 regular season games to be considered for MVP, All-NBA Teams, and other awards. However, this rule has specific exceptions, undoubtedly leading to even more debate.