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NBA close to a labour agreement

Old 06-21-05, 09:10 AM
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NBA close to a labour agreement

I guess the NBA has more common sense than the NHL in how not to mess up a professional league.

The NBA and its players' association are close to agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement that would institute a new 19-year-old age limit, reduce contract lengths and raise the salary cap, sources close to both negotiating committees said Monday night.

The potential agreement would run for six years and would allow the two sides to avoid a July 1 lockout.

The two negotiating committees were scheduled to meet again on Tuesday morning in New York, NBA spokesperson Tim Frank said. Union spokesperson Dan Wasserman declined comment on the story.

A source close to the NBA negotiating committee and a source close to the union's negotiation committee claim that all of the major issues between the sides have been agreed to in principle, and the purpose of Tuesday's meeting is to work out some of the finer points of the agreement that weren't addressed during a lengthy, breakthrough negotiation session Friday. Both sources asserted that none of the issues left on the table are major sticking points.

If those issues can be worked out in a timely fashion, the two sides would be ready to announce a deal.

If a new agreement is reached soon, the players would have the opportunity to ratify it during a summer meeting on June 28. It might take several more weeks for the final agreement to get drafted, possibly delaying the start of the free agent period scheduled to start July 1.

The owners will have won several key concessions from the players, if the current proposal is agreed upon, according to sources on both sides.

A 19-year-old age limit would be implemented. Players who are not 19 by draft night would be ineligible to declare. Under current rules, American players are eligible for the draft the year their high school class graduates. Foreign players must be 18 by draft night. The new proposed age limit would bar most, but not all (Amare Stoudemire was already 19 when he was drafted), high school players from entering the draft.

Contract lengths would be reduced by one year. Currently, players can sign a fully guaranteed contract for a maximum of seven years if they re-sign with their current team. Players signing with a new team in free agency can sign a six-year deal. Under the new proposal, maxiumum contract lengths would shorten to five years for players signing with new teams and six years for players re-signing with their current team.

Raises in contracts would be reduced. Under the current CBA, players are allowed maximum raises of 12.5 percent per year if they re-sign with their current team and 10 percent if they sign with a different team in free agency. Under the new proposal, raises would be reduced to 10 percent if a player re-signs with his current team and 8 percent if they sign with a different team in free agency.

Teams would pick up an extra option year on rookie contracts. Currently, first-round picks are tied into a league salary scale. When a first-round pick signs a contract, the first three years are guaranteed, with a team option for the fourth year. Players are paid a set amount based on where they were selected in the draft. Under the new proposed rules, first-round picks would get the first two years of their contract guaranteed. The third and fourth years of the contract would be team options.

In return the owners would make the following concessions to the players if the current proposal is ratified:

Total player salaries would be guaranteed. The proposed agreement guarantees that players receive a minimum of 57 percent of basketball-related income (BRI) in the form of salaries each year.

The salary cap would increase. The current CBA bases the salary cap on BRI. The cap is set at 48 percent of BRI; last year, that came to $43.87 million. According to sources, the owners would agree to increase that percentage to 51 percent, in effect raising the salary cap. Sources say the cap would, in that case, rise to between $47 million and $50 million next season.

Escrow would be reduced and distribution of escrow moneys modified. Currently, players must pay 10 percent of their salaries into an escrow account each season. If, at season's end, the total amount of player salaries exceeds 57 percent of the league's total basketball-related income, that money goes to the owners whose teams stay below the luxury-tax threshold (and a few that fall within a certain "cliff threshold"). If it doesn't exceed 57 percent, the players get their money back. Under the proposed agreement, that number would be slowly fazed down to 8 percent by the end of the agreement.

There is potentially another significant development in this area. Under current rules, the NBA has sole discretion over the use of the escrow money. Currently, it redistributes the cash (and luxury tax revenues) to teams that are under the luxury tax threshold. In essence, Clippers owner Donald Sterling gets a bonus for being cheap. Under the new proposed agreement, distribution rules would be changed so that luxury tax revenues would now be distributed equally among all 30 teams.

No super luxury tax. Owners had been pushing for a "super tax" for teams who exceed the salary cap by more than a certain percentage. They would be penalized $2 for every dollar they were over the tax threshold. However, the owners dropped their demand for a super tax under the newest proposal.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2091116
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Old 06-21-05, 09:25 AM
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A 19-year-old age limit is too low - if they are going to take the time and implement a limit, at least make them wait two or three years until they are out of high school.
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Old 06-21-05, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by B.A.
A 19-year-old age limit is too low - if they are going to take the time and implement a limit, at least make them wait two or three years until they are out of high school.
I'll call David Stern and let him know what you think!
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Old 06-21-05, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
I'll call David Stern and let him know what you think!
That will earn you a six-pack of your choice!
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Old 06-21-05, 11:01 AM
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I think the owners at least want the age limit in there. When the contract comes up again they may push to increase it to 20, but at least now they have something in there that they can work to improve.

Honestly, I'm shocked the Players Union doesn't want this more than the owners. You are seeing veterans pushed out early in their careers so teams can take chances on high school kids.
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Old 06-21-05, 11:44 AM
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well, the age limit will keep most high school students from the draft, which is really what the NBA wants. Now, they have to go to college for a year (and then the NBA execs get to see how they do in elevated competition).

Also, I think the reduction of initial contracts from 3 years + option to 2 years + 2 options is a sneaky way for the player's association to protect veteran's jobs too. While I am sure they'd never admit it (i.e., they'll say that was a concession by them, not something they wanted) it will still allow more roster flexibility so that vets can keep their jobs.

The Player's Assn was in a tough bind on those issues. Even though they protect vets, it would be hard for the Assn to come out in favor of them, because it is still pro-owner and anti-player.
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Old 06-21-05, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by darkside
I think the owners at least want the age limit in there. When the contract comes up again they may push to increase it to 20, but at least now they have something in there that they can work to improve.
That's what I'm hoping. They really need to get it up to three years removed from high school like the NFL.

Best of both worlds for fans. Don't have to watch the quality of play in the NBA suffer from kids learning the ropes on the court and/or veterans being forced out while the kids learn and/or ride the pine.

And college basketball benefits from getting these blue chip players for 3 years.
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Old 06-21-05, 12:28 PM
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What I would've liked to see (and what is still possible with the next deal) is a baseball-style system: You can come out of HS, but if you don't, you have to stay in college until your junior year.
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Old 06-21-05, 01:53 PM
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great. just what college basketball needs - kids who have no interest in being in college whatsoever - and are just "doing time" until they turn 19. The flipside of this is maybe some of these kids might actually enjoy college once they get there and stay past the age of 19. Not holding my breath, though. But another positive is that there have been more than a handful of guys who dominated HS, and foolishly though they could jump straight to the NBA and then went undrafted. Maybe, once those kids are averaging 10 minutes a game at some mid-major, they'll realize perhaps they aren't as good as they thought they were.

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Old 06-21-05, 02:05 PM
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great. just what college basketball needs - kids who have no interest in being in college whatsoever - and are just "doing time" until they turn 19.
These players all, for the most part, love playing basketball. And I've met very few people that genuinely hated college. Most love it, especially the athletes I've known as they have made.

And besides they're going to play hard as they'll have to play well in college to get drafted. No more getting overhyped by dominating crappy high school competition. They'll have to prove themselves against top flight Division I competition if they want to have any chance of being a lottery pick.
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Old 06-21-05, 02:10 PM
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The agreement is done. Announcement to come before Game 6 tonight.

NEW YORK -- NBA owners and players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement Tuesday, averting the possibility of a lockout.

The league called a news conference in San Antonio prior to Game 6 of the NBA Finals, with commissioner David Stern and union director Billy Hunter announcing their agreement, ESPN Insider Chad Ford has confirmed.

The deal came on the fourth consecutive day of talks between the sides. The league's old seven-year agreement is due to expire on June 30.

The league and its players' association on Monday night were close to agreeing on a new CBA that would institute a new 19-year-old age minimum, reduce contract lengths and raise the salary cap, according to sources close to both negotiating committee.

Among the main items the players were seeking was a reduction in the so-called escrow tax under which 10 percent of their salaries are withheld if the amount of revenues devoted to players salaries exceeds a specified percentage.

Owners had already offered to raise the salary cap from slightly more than 48 percent of revenues to 51 percent, thereby increasing the amount of money each team can spend on player salaries.

The NBA has a system known as a "soft" salary cap, allowing teams to exceed the cap threshold to retain their own free agents, and to sign free agents under the so-called midlevel exception that was added to the labor agreement in 1999 after the sides went through a 7-month lockout.

Another lockout could have begun July 1.

The agreement will still need to be ratified by the league's Board of Governors and by the members of the players' union at their annual meeting in Las Vegas next week.

A source close to the NBA negotiating committee and a source close to the union's negotiation committee claim that all of the major issues between the sides had been agreed to in principle as of Monday night.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider and contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was also used in this report.
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Old 06-21-05, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
These players all, for the most part, love playing basketball. And I've met very few people that genuinely hated college. Most love it, especially the athletes I've known as they have made.

And besides they're going to play hard as they'll have to play well in college to get drafted. No more getting overhyped by dominating crappy high school competition. They'll have to prove themselves against top flight Division I competition if they want to have any chance of being a lottery pick.
I agree with what you're saying, but I just know that some of these kids have no interest whatsoever in doing the "college" part of college. It's not that they "hate" college, they just don't have any interest in the educational aspects. And the task of keeping these kids eligible is gonna be interesting. Take a kid like Albert White - here's a top 20 kid in the nation back in 95 or 96, came to Michigan, and ALL he wanted to do was play ball and smoke weed - no interest in attending class or taking tests. He gets kicked off the team, ends up at Mizzou, and I know for a fact his two main desires didn't change. Not sure how he stayed eligible there (but I have a good idea )

The other thing that will be interesting is these Prop 48 kids. Kevin Garnett has always maintained he would have gone to Michigan if he had had the necessary SAT score. Under these rules, Garnett would have not been eligible for the NBA (I believe he was 18 when he graduated), but wouldn't have been able to play college ball that year, either.
EDIT: Garnett was actually 19 when he was drafted, so bad example on my part - but the point remains

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Old 06-21-05, 03:51 PM
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It's possible for those that don't want to/can't go to college to take a post-graduate year at a prep school or something of a similar sort. That way, he should be 19 by the time he completes that year, and able to enter the draft. I'm not sure how effective the 19 year age minimum will be, we'll just have to see.
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Old 06-21-05, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jigga6286
It's possible for those that don't want to/can't go to college to take a post-graduate year at a prep school or something of a similar sort.
When I saw the new age limit, I figured Hargrave Military Academy's phones were going to start ringing off of the hook.
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Old 06-21-05, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jigga6286
It's possible for those that don't want to/can't go to college to take a post-graduate year at a prep school or something of a similar sort. That way, he should be 19 by the time he completes that year, and able to enter the draft. I'm not sure how effective the 19 year age minimum will be, we'll just have to see.
Its called junior college (which is easier than many high schools).
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Old 06-21-05, 08:08 PM
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No, he's talking about the prep schools like the Hargrave Military Academy. They're even a step below junior college in many cases.
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Old 06-23-05, 02:06 PM
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Yeah, I went to a prep school the past two years, for my junior and senior year. We accept pg's, or post-graduates, looking to get noticed by colleges and/or improve their academics. It's a high school, and these kids take a 5th year of high school before entering college.
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Old 06-23-05, 02:14 PM
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I just realized that the thread title says "labour"
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