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NBA, Players’ Union Reach 7-Year Agreement, In-Season Tournament Coming

The NBA and NBPA come to accord on trade rules, season reforms.

NBA: All Star-Saturday Night Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have come to an accord on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will govern league operations for the next seven years. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeted the news late Friday evening/Saturday morning. The agreement will create an in-season tournament, set minimum limits for games played for league-wide awards, and alter trade and free agency rules.

Per Wojnarowski:

BREAKING: The NBA and NBPA have agreed on a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement, clearing the way for labor peace through this decade, sources tell ESPN. Deal includes a mutual opt-out after sixth year.

Deal includes In-Season Tournament, 65-game minimum for postseason awards, new limitations on highest spending teams and expanded opportunities for trades and free agency for mid and smaller team payrolls, sources tell ESPN.

The new collective bargaining agreement will start with the 2023-2024 season, sources tell ESPN.

The league and the Players’ Union had a 12:00 Midnight deadline on Saturday morning to complete a deal, but they voted to extend negotiations for a limited period because they were close to an agreement.


Wojnarowski, Tim Bontemps, and Bobby Marks now have an article up at ESPN giving more details of the incoming changes.

On spending limitations:

The NBA is curbing the ability of the highest-spending teams, such as the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers, to continue running up salary and luxury tax spending while still maintaining mechanisms to add talent to the roster. The NBA is implementing a second salary cap apron — $17.5 million over the tax line — and those teams will no longer have access to the taxpayer mid-level in free agency. Those changes will be eased into the salary cap over a period of years.

On increased flexibility for mid- and small-budget teams:

As a counter to those spending limitations, the new CBA is expected to create more spending and trade opportunities for teams at the middle and lower spectrum of spending. There will be an opening of more opportunities in the free agent market, including larger trade exceptions.

On qualifications for league-wide awards:

In an attempt to curb load management and lost games among star players, the NBA is tying eligibility for postseason awards — such as All-NBA teams and MVP — to a mandatory 65 games played. The 65-game minimum does come with some conditions.

On the in-season tournament:

The in-season tournament will arrive beginning in the 2023-24 season. The event will include pool-play games baked into the regular-season schedule starting in November — with eight teams advancing to a single-elimination tournament in December. The Final Four will be held at a neutral site, with Las Vegas prominent in the discussion, sources said.

Each in-season tournament game would count toward regular-season standings; the two finalists would ultimately play 83 regular-season games. Winning players and coaches will earn additional prize money.

An increase in the upper limit for contract extensions:

The NBA and NBPA have agreed to increase the upper limits on extensions from a 120% increase on a current deal to 140%.

The league will also allow teams three two-way contract slots to bolster the lower reaches of their roster, up from the current limit of two.


Shams Charania of The Athletic adds the following updates.

Marijuana will no longer fall under prohibited drug use.

Sources: NBA players will no longer be prohibited for marijuana under the new seven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. It’s been removed from the anti-drug testing program, a process that began during 2019-20 season.

The prize money for winning the mid-season tournament is apparently a cool half-million per player.

Prize money for the championship team of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament beginning in 2023-24 season: $500,000 per player, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.

We will update this post if more details become available.