The NBA and NBA Players Association will begin negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement in August, two full years before the NBPA has said it plans to opt out the existing CBA, according to a report from the Boston Globe.
The decision to start negotiations early, as told to the Globe by NBPA executive director Michele Roberts during a community event on Wednesday, could reflect a strengthening of relations between the two sides, which are both under new leadership. Silver was elected NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014. Roberts was elected to her post July 29, 2014.
“We’re grownups and grownups are supposed to be able to resolve issues. I’m glad, and I have no reason to think we won’t resolve this. But we’re going to start early just to make sure. But yeah, I’m pretty optimistic. We’re going to start our talks in August and we’ll keep talking until we resolve our issues we think need to be resolved," Roberts told the Globe.
Silver believes he and Roberts are beginning to build a strong personal relationship and that he was confident both sides could work through potentially contentious issues.
[daily_cut.NBA]While the current CBA runs through the 2020-21 season, the NBPA has said it will opt out of it after the 2016-2017 season, effectively creating a two-year timetable for the players union and the league to come to an agreement on a range of revenue-sharing issues. Some have speculated that an agreement between the two sides will be hard to reach, and that a lockout could be in store during the 2017-18 season.
“I take very serious the notion of avoiding a work stoppage," Roberts said. "The game is a great place right now. I listen to those fans screaming, they don’t want to hear anything about a work stoppage. We owe it to them to start talking, get these issues resolved so we can keep this game going.”
In March, the NBPA rejected an NBA proposal to gradually raise the league salary cap over several seasons in response to the league's $24 billion TV deal, opting instead to increase it all at once between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. The hike could raise teams' salary caps to as high as $90 million.
- Will Green