NBA owners can cry poor no longer.
That much is clear after the league announced an extension to their current TV deal with ESPN and Turner Sports on Monday.
The nine-year, $24 billion dollar deal will go in effect for the 2016-17 season, just in time for what will likely be a fresh round of labor negotiations between the players association and owners. Both sides have the option to opt out of the current CBA deal in 2017.
Several players around the league have already made clear that they will be gunning for a larger share of the increased revenue that will be heading to the owners’ pockets. Back in 2011, the players had their share of league revenue cut from 57 percent to 51 percent after the lockout. They’ll be looking to get back a bigger piece of that revenue pie as 2017 approaches.
Here’s a sampling of which stars have already spoken out on the issue in the past couple days.
Players are “encouraged” per new CBA to take less to win or risk being called selfish+ungrateful while nbatv deal goes UP by a BILLION #biz
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) October 7, 2014
Kevin Durant to the Oklahoman: “That’s a lot of money,” Durant said on Tuesday. “That’s a lot of money. I don’t see how owners can say they losing money now… “[The new deal] should be [a bargaining chip in the next CBA negotiations]. Everybody seen (the new deal). Last year, the fans didn’t really get to know exactly what was going on as far as revenue. But now that it’s out there, feels like we have a little bit of leverage, I guess, as players.”
LeBron James to USA Today: “You always want more and give less. But I think both sides benefited from it as you’ve seen in this new TV deal. Both sides continue to grow, but there’s some things we’d like to see changed, as players. We gave up a lot [in the last deal].”
While any change in the CBA will have to wait for a few years, the new TV deal will have an effect on the league well before then. Zach Lowe from Grantland broke down the details of the potential changes to the NBA’s salary cap.
The league right now projects a jump to $66.5 million for 2015-16, a modest rise pegged to the final year of that modest $930 million TV deal. If the new TV deal kicks in for the 2016-17 season just shy of $2 billion, the cap could exceed that same $14 million leap, all the way to around $80-plus million, in a single year.
Those sizable jumps will help cap strapped teams around the league, but they will make a profound impact locally as well.
First off, Avery Bradley’s four-year $32 million extension this summer with Boston looks like a steal in hindsight, especially when you consider that similarly skilled players will be looking for a sizable raise in upcoming free agency periods with the pending cap jump.
The new deal will also likely impact Boston’s negotiations with Rajon Rondo this offseason. At first glance, a five-year $100+ million max-type deal might seem like an overpayment, but a looming $80 million salary cap makes a $20+ million year salary look a bit more reasonable. If the Celtics aren’t willing to give Rondo that kind of money this summer, the chances have increased that some other team may want to take that risk.
Boston’s front office will have to tackle that issue and a host of other possibilities as they map out their rebuilding path in the coming months. The bottom line for the Celtics is that the new TV deal and rising cap gives Danny Ainge some additional flexibility to make moves.
Unfortunately for Boston, that fact is also true for the other 29 teams around the NBA, so the team’s rebuilding road won’t get any easier.