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What NBPA’s rejection of salary cap smoothing means

What NBPA’s rejection of salary cap smoothing means

The National Basketball Players Association informed the NBA again that it will not agree to “smoothing in” of salary cap increases that are the results of the league’s new TV/media deal starting in 2016-17. “Smoothing would have avoided a substantial Salary Cap spike in 2016-17,” NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said in a statement. “Under the league’s smoothing approach, the salary shortfall resulting from more gradual Cap increases would have been paid directly to the Players Association for distribution to all players, and thus the total compensation paid to players in any given season would not have been impacted.”USP NBA: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS AT NEW YORK KNICKS S BKN USA NY

What does this mean? The salary cap is going jump substantially from 2015-16 to 2016-17. The salary cap projections for next season is about $67.4 million, up from $63.065 this season, and it’s expected to jump almost $23 million to $90 million in 2016-17 without smoothing. At the All-Star game last month, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said players were against any method that artificially suppressed the salary cap even though players would get the shortfall due to them under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. Players will receive 51% of basketball-related income when the new TV kicks in. Roberts also said smoothing kept max deals lower than they could be, and players were against that.

Not surprisingly, either, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James structured his contract to take advantage of a rising salary cap. James is likely going to be a free agent after the 2015-16 season and in line to make $31.5 million in 2016-17 when the TV money is injected into the salary cap. And don’t forget, the NBPA recently voted James first vice president. His voice carries significant weight. The NBA preferred smoothing for two main reasons: foster competitive balance, enable better planning, and the league also believes dramatic spikes in the salary cap lend itself to unpredictability, including dips in the salary cap.

The league would rather have the cap make a more gradual jump from $67.4 million in 2015-16 to $78-$79 million in 2016-17 and then another increase to $90 million in 2017-18, instead of a $23 million increase from one season to the next. But the league is also not bent out of shape about the union’s decision.

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