The most financially successful era in NBA history will continue uninterrupted for at least six more years, after the league and its players came to a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement that will kick in this summer.
It took more than a year of bargaining, with the intensity and expectation growing in recent days, and the handshake agreement was struck in the wee hours of Saturday morning – shortly after the league intended to tell the National Basketball Players Association of its plan to opt out of the current CBA on June 30.
Instead, a deal got done, at least in principle. “The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, pending ratification by players and team governors,” was the league’s only comment, coming shortly before 3 a.m. Eastern.
Technically, it will be a seven-year deal, though either side can opt out a year early – meaning labor peace is only assured through the 2028-29 season. It will also begin the era of an in-season tournament, something Commissioner Adam Silver has wanted for years.
Barring a change to the current plan, teams will be given an 80-game schedule for next season in August. Those 80 games will include “tournament” games that will count in regular-season standings. All teams will have two more games added to their schedule eventually so the full 82-game slate is played; the two teams that make the tournament final will be playing an 83rd game that won’t count in the standings.
Among other details, per a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press: players will generally have to appear in at least 65 games in order to be eligible for the top individual awards such as Most Valuable Player; the maximum value of contract extensions will rise; and a third two-way contract will now be available to teams – which could potentially see roster sizes grow from 17 to 18.
HALL OF FAME: Tony Parker and Pau Gasol played for him. Becky Hammon coached alongside him. Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade waged battles against him.
He is Gregg Popovich.
And he, finally, is a Hall of Famer.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame made it official Saturday, with three of the NBA’s all-time international greats — Nowitzki, Parker and Gasol — joining Wade, Hammon and Popovich as the headliners of the 2023 class that will be enshrined on Aug. 11 and 12 at ceremonies in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
“This is basketball heaven,” Wade said on the ESPN telecast of the announcement in Houston.
Also getting the Hall’s call: the 1976 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team; former Purdue coach Gene Keady; former Texas A&M women’s coach Gary Blair; longtime coach at Division III Amherst and two-time national champion David Hixon; and Gene Bess, who won 1,300 games as a junior college coach at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
The late Jim Valvano, who as a coach who led N.C. State to the 1983 NCAA title, was selected as a contributor – also taking into account his work as a broadcaster and an outspoken advocate for cancer research and the V Foundation.
BUCKS: Milwaukee forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo has been suspended one game without pay for head-butting Boston Celtics forward Blake Griffin on Thursday night.
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