Players and owners agreed to a 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement that ended the lockout in 2011, but many expect players to opt out in 2017 and potentially ensure yet another work stoppage. With a new TV deal in place by then, the battle over the financial pie could be even longer, and nastier three years from now. Not to worry (yet), claims Adam Silver. Per the AP:
“We’ll always be prepared, but I have no expectation that they’re going to opt out. I mean, we haven’t had any discussions whatsoever about that possibility,” Silver said.
“I think it’s premature, frankly, for either side to be making determinations about how well this deal has or hasn’t worked, and I think especially given that their leader hasn’t even been installed yet, which is something that they of course are freely acknowledging. So I don’t really buy into sort of that speculation that they’re already planning to opt out or that we’re thinking about it.”
The 2011 deal cut the players’ guarantee of basketball revenues from 57 percent to 50, saving owners hundreds of millions in salary costs. They have seen the benefit, with sales of franchises soaring, though Silver said there are still eight teams that aren’t profitable.
The league sought a 10-year deal, much longer than players wanted, so the compromise was reached to allow either side to terminate it early.
“Our league’s recently reported economic successes come as no surprise to the players,” NBPA acting executive director Ron Klempner said in an email. “That being said, we negotiated for the right to opt out of the CBA, and just as the owners will do, the players will consider our options at the appropriate time. It’s way too early to commit to any decision one way or the other.”
The players are still seeking a replacement for former executive director Billy Hunter, who was ousted last February. They said recently they expect to hire one by the start of next season.
Meanwhile, owners met in New York last week and got an update on the CBA through what could be its midway point.
“We presented sort of the facts as we know them so far under this agreement,” Silver said. “Is it working in ways we predicted, here are things that we would not have predicted under the agreement, here’s the amount of free agency movement we’re seeing, here’s how it’s working economically for the league. And I would assume the union at some point will do those same things.”