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As Part Of New CBA, NBA Owners Want Rollback On Existing Salaries

While everyone who has paid attention to the contentious discussions over the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement pretty much assumed that owners would want current player salaries to be slashed, it's now being confirmed.

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I can't see this playing out in any meaningful way. Both the team and the player were involved in negotiating those contracts and knew what they were getting into. There's no chance the players want to hand back any of the money they agreed to get paid when they still have to commit to the team for the amount of time they agreed to.

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To address the issue of a lower and harder salary cap, the league will likely allow for cap exceptions on existing contracts, so only a portion of them actually counts against what a team will have to spend going forward under the new CBA.

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But, I have a couple of other suggestions:

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  • Allow teams and players to "refinance" their contracts, like people do for houses (provided they're not underwater, that is). Let's say, for pretends, that you have a player that signed for four years and $40 million, an even $10 million a year. The team could, with the player's approval, agree to still pay the player a total of $40 million but over the course of six years instead of four. Meanwhile, the player would still only be obligated to play out their four years. Basically, the player would be getting paid $6.66 million a year for two years to play for another team, along with whatever compensation they may have negotiated with their new team. The teams would not escape their responsibility to pay out the contract, but would gain more year-to-year flexibility under a new stricter cap.
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  • Agree to a salary rollback (of, say, 30%), but as a reward to the player, allow them to re-negotiate the contract length plus-or-minus one year. Say a player wanted more security for their troubles. In that case, they could tack on an extra year at their new reduced yearly salary. Or say the player was upset about the rollback and wanted to get away from the team ASAP. They could opt out a year earlier than their current contract would have allowed and be free to find a new, more palatable deal.
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Now let's just hope Commissioner David Stern stumbles across this and hires me as a consultant.

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