NBA and players reach labor agreement

The NBA will enjoy labor peace for many years.

The league and its players reached an agreement early Saturday morning to finalize a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement, the NBA announced. It still needs to be ratified, although it is almost certain that this process is a mere formality.

The agreement will go into effect this summer and will last through the 2028-29 season. Either party may terminate it at that time; otherwise it will last until 2029-30.

Among the details, provided by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press: The in-season tournament Commissioner Adam Silver has wanted for years will come to fruition, and players will have to appear in at least 65 games with the in order to be eligible for major individual awards such as Most Valuable Player. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the National Basketball Players Association released the details.

Another new part of the deal will be a second level of luxury tax that, when reached, will prevent teams from using their mid-tier exception to sign players. This is a clear compromise, as some teams wanted a so-called “spending upper limit,” which would have set an absolute ceiling on what can be spent each season and would have helped level the playing field between teams willing to to pay huge taxes and those who don’t.

Silver said Wednesday, following a two-day meeting of the Board of Governors, that he hoped to reach an agreement before the weekend. He also said there had been no consideration — at least by the league — to push the blackout date a third time.

The current collective bargaining agreement, which took effect on July 1, 2017, included a mutual option for either the NBA or the NBPA to fold after six seasons on June 30 of this year. The parties originally had a deadline of December 15 to announce their intention to exercise the opt-out clause, then pushed it back to February 8, and then to Friday.

The league and union continued to talk after the midnight exclusion period expired, and an agreement was announced nearly three hours later.

The agreement does not end the process, although it is obviously a big step forward.

The owners will have to vote on what they have negotiated, and the players will also have to vote to approve the deal. Then will come the writing of the document itself: the most recent collective agreement consisted of about 600 pages with almost 5,000 paragraphs and 200,000 words. Most of it will be the same, the other will have to be revised.



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