The Nba has a new CBA. It’s not really news, the players association (NBPA) and the owners board had already agreed and then unanimously ratified the agreement, but on January 19th the papers have officially been signed. This is a point of no return. The new agreement makes sure there will be no lock-out next summer (the last lock-out happened in 2011). Most of all, there are plenty of changes with contracts, including a few things for rookies.
Everything started with the new TV deal that kicked in last summer. The total revenues went from roughly 930 million to 2,67 billion dollars per season. Roughly half of that goes to the players as salaries. Basically, this season the owners must pay around 900 millions more in salaries, one way or another. The 2017-18 season will see another jump, although not as dramatic, and the total revenue pie will sit at around 3 billion dollars. From there, it will only be going up. Things had to change, for everybody.
Rookie scale contract
Rookie contracts are not a percentage of the salary cap, but a fixed amount based on the position each player has been drafted (teams can decide to pay up to 120% of that fixed amount – pretty much every team does it). This is true only for first round picks, since their contracts are guaranteed. An example: Kyrie Iriving was the #1 pick in the 2011 draft and his contract got him about 23M in 5 years. Jimmy Butler, #30 pick in 2011, signed a contract that paid him 5M in 5 years. If Markelle Fultz had to be the #1 pick next June, (he is on top of every mock draft right now) he will sign a contract paying him 7M in his first year and over 45M in 5 years.
This is why the NBA and NBPA talked about changing the one&done rule. The proposed idea is to have the players choose between going for the draft immediately after high school or take at least two years of college. No changes so far, but something is going to happen on that side.
Designated Player Extension (DPE)
This is not about rookies and most draftee will never even get close to it, but Jason Concepcion, in a recent piece on The Ringer, suggested a few implications regarding the draft. What happens with this rule is that teams have now the tools to keep their franchise players “for life”. A player who can check on all the requisites might receive an offer 70M+ higher than any other team in free agency, but that team must be the one that drafted the player in the first place. An example: if this rule was already in place last summer, the Oklahoma City Thunder might have offered a contract north of 200M to Kevin Durant, who might have not left in free-agency with so much money on the table. DeMarcus Cousins, who seems to be in trade and free agency rumors since forever, checks all the boxes to be eligible for this contract.
The rule was developed to avoid superstar switching teams, whether it be Durant or Cousins or, say, Anthony Davis. Teams are now forced to find their franchise player through the draft. This leaves the door open to other extreme tanking plans like the one Sam Hinkie put in place in Philadelphia. And by the way, that plan has been working very well. The rest of the league noticed. Without talents of Durant or James caliber it is impossible to win in the Nba. The DPE will only allow teams to get them through the draft.
Nba e NBADL
We talked about the D-League a great deal, because it has a key role in the development of players. The benefit are so obvious, most teams now have their own D-League franchise to rely on. In the past months, we talked about Yogi Ferrell, cut by the Brooklyn Nets at the end of training camp to sign with the Long Island Nets. Or Marcus Paige, cut by the Utah Jazz to sign with the Salt Lake City Stars. This is pretty common, and of course the San Antonio Spurs were pioneers of this and heavily relied on the D-League to develop their fringe rotation players (after all, NBADL is the acronym for National Basketball Association Development League).
Starting next July, Nba roster will be 17-players long, with the two new slots going to players who have special two-way contracts between the Nba and NBADL. Again, money was the issue. D-League top players earn about 26,000$ per year, while the minimum guys are around 19,000$. Those players included in this special contracts will more than double their income, with salaries ranging between 50,000$ and 75,000$. On top of that, it will be easier for this two “extra” player to get Nba minutes, since they are part of an Nba roster (unlike, say, Yogi Ferrell earlier in the season, who was solely a player of the Long Island Nets).
In conclusion, everybody will get paid more, which seems obvious considering where this whole thing started. The two-way contracts might be good for fringe Nba players who might get their chances and the salary is at least competitive with the average salary in overseas leagues (stress on average). The raise in rookie contracts is huge, and it might be a problem whenever there are concerns about the maturity of the draftee (doubts should creep in anyway, seniors are still kids in their early twenties).
The rush to high lottery picks might be exparated even more than it is now, for both teams and college players. The DPE is the new symbol of Nba stardom and the one contract every player will dream about. To be eligible for it a player must be invited to two All Star Games or make one All-Nba team in the three years prior to the new contract. If Cousins made it, despite the Sacramento Kings, than any true franchise player can make it.