The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is a 482-page maze. Want to be an NBA GM? You'll need to find your way through it.

By Jeremy Woo and Mark Bechtel
February 13, 2019

This story appears in the Feb. 11, 2019, issue of Sports Illustrated. For more great storytelling and in-depth analysis, subscribe to the magazine—and get up to 94% off the cover price. Click here for more.

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement runs 482 pages, and that’s not including another 80 or so dedicated to Exhibits. The Table of Contents is 22 pages long. Reading the document from beginning to end is impossible. Even skimming it, from "Article I—Definitions” (sample: “‘Commissioner' means the Commissioner of the NBA.") through "Exhibit J-2-2: Minimum Procedures To Be Provided By The Accountants” (sample: "The Audit Report (and any Interim Audit Report or Interim Escrow Audit Report) must be prepared in accordance with"—Oh, never mind), is enough to glaze over the eyes of even the most ardent MBA-textbook fetishist.

And yet, there are people whose jobs it is to know the ins and outs of all 42 Articles, who can articulate the difference between the Taxpayer Mid-Level Salary Exception and the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Salary Exception. If you want to be a GM, it helps to be one of those people. So if you’ve ever wanted to be an NBA power broker or deal maker, here’s a sample of what you’re up against.

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