(CN) – The National Basketball Association and its players’ union said Wednesday that they have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, avoiding a potential labor stoppage after the current deal expires this coming summer.
The announcement follows months of daily meetings and silences rumors of a lockout that spread after New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said he was “skeptical” that a new agreement could be hammered out ahead of the Thursday deadline for either side to opt out of the current 10-year agreement, which ended the previous lockout in 2011.
The deal must be ratified by team owners and the league’s players, which is seen as a formality. The new agreement lasts seven years, with an opt-out clause for each party after the sixth year.
Players will earn between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, which largely consists of revenue from national and local television contracts. Basketball-related income has risen from $4 billion to what will be an estimated $8 billion in the next couple of years, partially due to a $24 billion television contract between the league and its national partners, ABC/ESPN and Turner.
The agreement adjusts the expected maximum salary in 2017-18, which is based on a percentage of the league-mandated salary cap. Players with 10 or more years of service in the league will be able to earn up to $36 million per year, while the maximum salary for players with 7 to 9 years of experience is projected to be $31 million.
The current “one-and-done” rule – which requires a player to be out of high school for a year before entering the league – will remain in place. The league had sought to increase the age limit for new players to 20, requiring some to wait an additional year before joining the NBA.
The league and the players’ association would have until June 30, 2017 – when the current agreement expires – to negotiate a new deal if either side opts out or Wednesday’s tentative agreement is rejected.