Two weeks before Christmas – with the NBA rolling in a major rush of increased global interest, the allure of Super Teams and a windfall of TV money that has improved the fortunes of both owners and players- the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association reached a tentative seven-year deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It was ratified a week later.
It was an agreement with a potential for either side to opt out after six years. The 13-year stretch between the last lockout in 2011 and the six -year opt out window in 2022 will be one of the longest sustained periods of games without a labor stoppage since Magic, Bird and MJ made the NBA big business.
Then high school hot shots Dwight Howard, LeBron, McGrady and Amare’ changed the game.
One of the major negotiating issues in the prior CBA negotiations was the one and done rule which allows college players to declare for the NBA Draft once theyve completed a year of college or have been out of high school for a year. After much negotiations, that rule remained in place.
The league has sought to increase the age limit to 20; the union has resisted that and would prefer no limit or a rule similar to that of Major League Baseball, which allows high school players to declare for its draft but prohibits players who opt to attend college from declaring until after their junior year in college.
The union sought a so-called zero and two compromise that would allow high schoolers in the NBA Draft but keep college players from declaring until after their sophomore season in college.
Since Michele Roberts took over as NBPA Executive Director, she has let it be known that she is a super advocate for the players and players rights. She is seeking a bigger piece of every pie for her clients and has given hints that eliminating the league age requirement or lowering it to 18 will be a sticking point for her in the next CBA negotiations.
Commissioner Adam Silver spoke on this subject at All-Star Weekend and said it needs to be studied more before being amended again.
Sports boss Stephen A. Smith pontificated on this subject this morning on ESPNs First Take:
“I’m a capitalist,” Smith said. “Im an American and I believe in what this country is about and what it stands for. I’m of the mindset that if you can serve your country at the age of 18 you should be able to go out there and make a living and I maintain that.
My problem is what weve watched transpire in terms of the advent of social media… and all the things that have taken place that ultimately put the league at risk of jeopardizing themselves because you give up so much too soon.”
Smith says the NBA has a right to protect its product and, more than avoiding a league diluted in the talent department, maintain a standard of maturity and commitment to the brand that he feels a lot of young ballers coming up don’t show.