Posted Nov 12 2011 11:28PM
Despite concerns expressed by NBA players that the owners' latest proposal in their collective bargaining talks is "worse" than a previous one, the league maintains that the revisions arrived at after 23 hours of negotiations last week are enhancements.
Here are highlights of the current offer, compared to similar points in the owners' previous proposal. Also, here are some terms of the "reset" proposal that commissioner David Stern said would be invoked if the union rejects the latest offer after its meeting Monday in New York with the teams' 30 player-reps.
Presented to union on Nov. 10:
• A 50-50 split of basketball-related income (BRI), either straight or in a 49-to-51 "band" adjusted for growth figures.
• A mid-level exception for non-taxpaying teams with a starting salary of up to $5 million in contracts up to four years in length.
• A MLE for tax-paying teams starting at $3 million with a maximum length of three years, available every year.
• A new "room" exception for all teams below the salary cap starting at $2.5 million for up to two years.
• Sign-and-trade deals available to all teams, including -- in Years 1 and 2 of the CBA -- taxpaying teams.
• Maximum annual raises of 6.5 percent for "Bird" free agents (players re-signed by their current teams) and 3.5 percent for others.
• Minimum payroll requirement -- known as "the floor" -- of 85 percent of the salary cap in Years 1 and 2, increasing to 90 percent thereafter.
• An allowance for teams whose use of the full MLE would put them over the luxury-tax threshold. They would be permitted to conform by reducing payroll by an Oct. 15 deadline, either through trades or the "stretch" provision in which a player would be cut, with his remaining salary spread out over a longer period of time (two times the years remaining on his deal, plus one). This lower salary figure could enable the team to get down below the tax.
• A mutual opt-out clause in the new CBA after 6 years, conforming to NBPA preference.
* Other provisions in the new offer -- relating to escrow money (10 percent, up from 8), stiffened luxury-tax penalties, a 12 percent drop in rookie and minimum-salary scales (to accommodate 12 percent drop in BRI share from 57 percent), the limiting of bi-annual exceptions to non-taxpaying teams, a 6-month buffer on extend-and-trade deals and other items -- remain essentially unchanged from the previous proposal.
Presented to union on Nov. 5:
Same as above, except:
• The MLE exception for taxpaying teams would have started at $2.5 million for a maximum of two years and been available to use only every other year.
• No "room" exception. Teams under the salary cap would only have that cap space available for free-agent signings.
• No sign-and-trade deals for taxpaying teams.
• Maximum annual raises of 5.5 percent for "Bird" players and 3.5 percent for others.
• The minimum payroll requirement in past CBAs was 75 percent of the cap number.
• The mutual opt-out in the 10-year CBA would come after 7 years.
To be presented if the union rejects the current offer:
• A 47 percent share of BRI for the players.
• A hard salary cap set $5 million above the average team salary.
• Rollbacks of individual player contracts "in proportion to system changes" to allow for spending on free agents.
• A MLE exception with a starting salary of $3 million and a maximum term of three seasons.
• Maximum contract lengths of four years for "Bird" free agents and three years for other players. Each team could give a five-year deal to one designated player.
• Maximum annual raises of 4.5 percent for "Bird" players and 3.5 percent for others.
Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA for 25 years.