My man Howard Beck of the New York Times got a hold of the offer the NBA sent to the players. Some pretty compelling stuff.
The players, refusing to be strong-armed, flat out rejected the offer initially. But they are reportedly meeting, all 30 reps, in New York on Tuesday to discuss the offer. I find it hard to find anything the Players would like. I see some things they would be OK with, but nothing the players are pushing for.
You would think if they did give in to 50-50 split, the players would have to get several other things they were pushing for. But in a move that would make Nucky Thompson proud, the owners are pushing the 50-50 split and a more tolerable version of what they want. And if the players don’t accept it, the owners threat is to make it worse.
The owners’ offer, the one on the table until Wednesday, includes the following:
* 50-50 split of BRI (Basketball-Related Income. The players got 57% under last CBA, with the owners getting 43%
* A soft salary cap
* Salary-cap and luxury-tax levels would not be lowered the first two years of the new CBA. Starting in Year 3, the cap and tax would be adjusted (which means lowered) to conform to the new system.
* Maximum contract lengths will be four years, five years for “Bird” free agents. The last CBA allowed contracts up to five years, six for team’s own free agents
* Annual contract increases will be 3.5% for most players and 5.5% for “Bird” players. It was usually 8% in the last CBA, up to 10.5% for “Bird” players
* Sign-and-trade deals would only be available to teams not in the luxury tax. Ditto for the bi-annual exception
* Extend-and-trade deals (where a team gives a player a contract extension, then trades them, like Denver did with Carmelo) would no longer be allowed
* The midlevel exception would be set at $5M (with a 3% annual raise starting in Year 3) for teams not in the luxury tax, the maximum length being 3 or 4 years. For teams paying the luxury tax, the midlevel exception would be set at $2.5M (also with 3% raises), the maximum length being two years and it can’t be used in consecutive years. Last year, the midlevel was $5.76M and was never lower than $5M under last CBA
* A 10 percent escrow tax will be withheld from player salaries, to ensure that player earnings do not exceed 50 percent of league revenues. An additional withholding will be applied in Year 1 “to account for business uncertainty” stemming from the lockout.
*Players will be paid a prorated share of their 2011-12 salaries, based on the number of games played once the season starts.
* Player options will be prohibited. Team options will only be allowed on rookie deals. Only players who are on nonguaranteed contracts can opt out of the final year of their deal.
Now, if the players do not accept by Wednesday’s deadline, the “reset” proposal kicks in. That offer includes:
* A flex-cap system that contains an absolute salary ceiling. The salary cap will be set at $5 million above the average team salary.
* Existing contracts would be rolled back to be fit into new system and “ensure sufficient market for free agents.”
* The midlevel exception would be set at $3M (3% annual raises) with a maximum length of three years
* Maximum salaries would be reduced.
* Sign-and-trade rules would stay the same
* Contracts would be limited to four years for “Bird” free agents and three years for others. Each team would be allowed to sign one designated player to a five-year deal.
* Raises would be limited to 4.5% for “Bird” players and 3.5% for others.