Report: NBA seeks hard salary cap limit in next CBA


The NBA is seeking to implement an "upper salary limit" as it negotiates with the National Basketball Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The NBA believes that the current system doesn't provide all 30 teams the ability to be competitive and contend, according to Wojnarowski. The spending disparity allows the top teams in the league to far exceed the salary cap, leaving smaller markets unable to keep as much talent on their roster in order to refrain from entering the luxury tax.

Currently, teams have the ability to re-sign their own players and add a salary in free agency through exceptions that would allow them to exceed the league-wide salary cap. But the new proposed system would end the luxury tax payments, set a concrete number that teams could not surpass to pay player salaries and require the league to find a new system for sharing revenue. 

"In wake of large market contenders Golden State, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers running up massive payrolls and luxury tax penalties, the NBA's proposing a system that would replace the luxury tax with a hard limit that teams could not exceed to pay salaries," Wojnarowski reported, citing sources.

The league's proposal, however, reportedly has been met with resistance from the union.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA's Labor Relations Committee – which includes Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob – have held meetings with the union in order to come to a resolution. 

Wojnarowski cited that 20 of the 30 NBA teams are currently below the luxury tax threshold of $150.3 million with 10 teams projected to pay nearly $700 million combined in luxury tax penalties this season.

According to Wojnarowski, other top priorities that the league and NBPA will discuss surrounding the CBA include:

  • “Finding mechanisms to incentivize top players to participate in more regular season games, creating crisper competition and greater value in the league's media rights deals.”
  • “Working on a "smoothing" plan to incrementally add in the windfall escalation of revenue in the league's looming media deal, which would avoid a repeat of the cap spike in 2016 that disproportionally rewarded one class of free agents and selected teams.”
  • “To end the "One-and-Done" early entry rule and allow high school players back into the NBA Draft, the league wants a requirement that player agents can no longer pick and choose the teams with whom they supply prospects physicals and medical information. The NBA also wants some minimal requirements around presence and participation in the draft combine.”

There is a Dec. 15 deadline to “declare notice of an opting of the current deal” next December, but that deadline can be extended.

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