Report: NBA Proposing ‘Franchise Tag’ to Players Union

by May 11, 2011
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The latest proposal from David Stern’s team to Billy Hunter’s is a modified version of the NFL’s “Franchise Tag” (and the abolishment of fully guaranteed contracts.) SI reports: “The tag, however, would be very different from the NFL’s version, which allows a team to essentially block one of its free agents from entering the market by binding him to his incumbent team with a one-year contract that carries a high salary based on various parameters. The system the league has presented would not work this way, according to sources. Instead, a team would be allowed to designate one player for preferential contractual treatment, including more overall money, more guaranteed money and at least one extra year on his contract. A player would have to agree to such a designation. It is designed to work as an incentive to get a player to remain with his team rather than as a roadblock to free agency, the sources said. Take the situation between the Cavaliers and LeBron James one year ago. Under the league’s proposal, the Cavaliers would not have been able to unilaterally ‘tag’ James a franchise player and bind him to the team for one more season. The Cavaliers would have been able to offer James various enticements he may not have been able to get from other teams, the sources said. The NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement already gives incumbent teams such advantages when it comes to re-signing their own players. James and Chris Bosh both took less money to sign with the Heat than they could have received from the Cavs and Raptors, respectively. The idea behind the league’s new proposal would be to increase the gap between what teams can offer a ‘designated player’ and what non-designated players can get on the open market … Sources also said the league’s proposal would ban fully guaranteed contracts. All contracts would have limits on the amount of money a player would be guaranteed to receive, and those guarantees would decline during the life of each contract. In other words, a player making, say, $5 million per season over four years would actually be guaranteed less than $5 million in each of those four seasons — and the amount guaranteed would drop each season. The idea is for teams to be able to get out of undesirable contacts more easily and avoid ugly, Eddy Curry-style buyout talks.”