Some New (And Questionable) CBA Details Have Emerged

The NBA kicked off the month of April by officially agreeing upon a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. With many of the logistics kept under wraps, we’ve received information on the new set of league rules in waves. And one of those waves came on Monday afternoon.

Let’s quickly walk through some of the reports shared about new CBA guidelines.

  • One of the more straightforward changes is that players must appear in 65 total games to qualify for end-of-season awards. We also learned today that a player must clock a total of 20 minutes in each of those 65 games. The Athletic’s Shams Charania said there is protection in place against season-ending injuries, as well as a cushion that allows two of those 65 games to have just 15 minutes of play. Only time will tell how significantly this impacts the availability of big stars, but I like the intent behind the new rule.
  • The in-season tournament is a full go. I’ve been highly skeptical of this idea from the start. Why care about a mid-season trophy or banner when Larry O’Brien is still hanging in the distance? Well, the NBA hopes that money is the why. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 2023-23 In-Season Tournament will include prize money for each player on the top-4 teams. The winners will receive $500,000, the runner-ups will receive $200,000, the semi-final loser will receive $100,000, and the quarter-final loser with receive $50,000. Is that enough to spur playoff-caliber play? Maybe from role players, but I’m not sure it’ll do much to incentivize the stars to go all out.
  • The Athletic’s Shams Charania shared some notable increases to the mid-level exception. He also said there is a new exception created specifically for signing second-round picks to a three-to-four-year deal. I’m a big fan of that one because it means the Bulls will likely not run into a situation again where a player as good as Ayo Dosunmu is headed toward RFA after two seasons.
  • Two-way players and training camp invites are also set to make more money. We also already knew that the NBA has added an additional two-way contract to each team’s bench (which means you can now have three players on two-way deals).
  • Now for the most controversial news of the day: According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the NBA has created harsh penalties for franchises that go above their newly established second-tier tax apron. A first-time offender will not be able to trade their first-round pick that is seven years out (which is the latest-in-the-future pick NBA teams are allowed to trade). If a team goes on to exceed the apron again over the next four years, that same future pick will be dropped to the end of the first round. To be honest, it feels a lot like administering a hard cap without actually doing so.
  • The team apparently can have their restriction on trading the pick lifted if they avoid going back over the apron.
  • While I understand the idea that the NBA wants to even the playing field, this feels like the wrong way to go about it. The idea should be to encourage teams to spend money and invest in talent. Instead, this appears as if it would punish a team for being aggressive in the market and/or paying to retain multiple stars they drafted (like we’ve seen in Golden State or Boston). If anything, this feels like it only gives ownership like the Chicago Bulls more of a reason to avoid dropping the big bucks.
  • Conversely, what feels like good news is that the NBA is also further disincentivizing NOT spending a baseline of money. ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted that, starting in 2024-25, salary-cap teams that are below the minimum salary floor on Day 1 of the regular season will not receive the check that luxury tax teams distribute at the end of the year. For example, he stated that San Antonio – who finished with the second-worst record in the league – would not earn the $15.2 million they’re expected to get this year.
  • Anyway, here are the leftovers (for now). I’m sure more details are bound to come out soon.
  • written by

    Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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