The NBA appears to be planning to insert a strict cap in the new collective bargaining agreement so that teams will no longer be allowed to exceed a certain maximum amount of player salary. The players’ union, the NBPA, is said to be adamantly opposed to the idea, possibly even a lockout.
Like Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN:) and Mark Stein (substack) unanimously report that the NBA wants to introduce a so-called “spending cap” into the new CBA, which would mean a hard cap in practice.
In other words, the current system of soft wage caps and luxury taxes is said to be scrapped and replaced with a hard cap. Then the established limit must not be exceeded by the teams to pay the salaries of the players.
This will primarily affect teams in major markets. Two teams, the Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers, are putting more than $300 million into their rosters (including luxury taxes) this season, even though the salary cap is just under $124 million. The Brooklyn Nets are also scratching the 300 million mark.
Under current regulations, the salary cap can be exceeded almost at will, but then the team in question must also pay hefty luxury taxes. The luxury tax cap is currently around $150.3 million. Only isolated teams that sign and trade, for example, are already subject to the hard cap.
Lockout instead of a hard hat. The players vs. the NBA offer
According to Vo, the NBA believes that the current system does not allow fair competition. However, this NBA idea was rejected by the NBPA players union. An unnamed source on the player’s side was even quoted by Steyn. “First of all, we’re going to lock down until something like a hard hat comes along.”
The current collective agreement runs through 2024, but both sides have the option to exit the CB in the summer of 2023. However, this option should be applied until December 15. Both sides hope to reach a common denominator before then.
It is not unusual for the first “wish lists” to like this in the early stages of negotiations. ESPN: described, to be exchanged. Thus, the proposal may not be part of the NBA’s hard-line strategy, but may first serve to identify the limits of negotiations.
Apparently, the NBA hopes to create a more balanced and thus more interesting league with this idea, which in turn should multiply revenue. This will also affect player salaries, in the current CBA, league revenue is split 51/49 between players and owners. However, there is said to be skepticism about this proposal not only among the players, but also among some teams, as successful teams may no longer be able to maintain their rosters in the long run.