Why the NBA, NBPA extending the CBA opt-out deadline is important

The NBA and NBPA agreed to extend the collective bargaining agreement opt-out deadline to Feb. 8, 2023 the league announced Wednesday.

The previous deadline was Dec. 15, but both sides pushed that date "in connection with ongoing efforts to reach an agreement."

The move gives the league and NBPA more time to negotiate a new CBA. The current agreement was ratified by NBPA membership in December 2016, took effect in July 2017 and is currently set to run through the 2023-24 season. Wednesday's agreement gives both sides two additional months to negotiate before the new opt-out date. If either side opts out in February, the CBA will expire June 30, 2023.

What happens if the NBA or NBPA opts out?

Any opt out would leave the NBA vulnerable to a lockout on July 1, 2023. This has not occurred in the NBA since 2011, when a lockout lasted just over five months and reduced the 2011-12 season to 66 games.

With Forbes’ valuation that the average NBA team is now worth $2.86 billion, 15% more than just a year ago, business is clearly booming for the league.

Additionally, the NBA’s nine-year, $24 billion television rights deal will end after the 2024-25 season. Patrick Crakes, a media industry analyst and former Fox Sports executive, told The Athletic that the NBA’s media rights collectively should go for at least $50 billion if the league can maintain its present relationships with ESPN and Turner Sports.

An influx of cash from a new media rights deal will provide even more incentive for both sides to reach a new labor deal before the deadline, but they’ll have to agree on multiple issues before that can happen.

NBA reportedly seeks a hard salary cap to curb excessive spending

The league's increasingly determined pursuit of an upper spending limit is the top point of contention in current negotiations, NBA reporter Marc Stein said in an October newsletter.

As teams like the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets amass massive payrolls, the NBA is reportedly proposing a hard cap that would replace the luxury tax.

The league has made multiple short-lived attempts to instill a broad hard cap in the past. This time, insiders say the push is more persistent.

"There will be a lockout before there’s a hard cap,” a source from the player’s side told Stein in October.

Potential changes to the NBA draft and more

The two sides are also discussing whether to end the "one-and-done" rule, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

This would allow high school players to enter the NBA draft at 18 years old. With that change, the league reportedly wants to instill a requirement that player agents can no longer pick and choose the teams with which they share prospects' physicals and medical information.

The NBA is also looking to find "mechanisms to incentivize top players participating in more regular season games, creating crisper competition and greater value in the league's media rights deals," Wojnarowski wrote.

The league office and the NBPA have "vowed to clamp down on leaks" regarding CBA negotiations, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, so details may remain unclear until the two sides reach an agreement.

Jan 5, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the crowd after the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has held meetings about the proposed upper spending limit and spoken about changing the "one-and-done" rule. (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports) (USA Today Sports / reuters)