The New CBA's Impact on the NBA

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By Kyle Cheves, @pkcheves (Southern Methodist University)

The cap for the new salary cap is expected to range from $101-107 million dollars. Photo via

The cap for the new salary cap is expected to range from $101-107 million dollars. Photo via

At the conclusion of this year’s 2016-2017 NBA season, a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) will be implemented for the upcoming off-season. As of a couple years ago, many expected the redefined CBA agreement to have a salary cap that was as high as $107 million. This would be a $12.9 million increase from this year’s salary cap set at $94.1 million, currently noted at the highest salary cap in the history of the NBA.

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After recent discussions, it appears that the anticipated cap of $107 million will not be set as high and that number will be set around $101 million mark with the inclusion of a veteran superstar clause. In addition, there may be some incentives for lower market teams in order to aid them in keeping top level talent.

This “superstar” clause will allow for teams to use up to 35% of their salary cap towards resigning “superstar” players that meet the predefined requirements. This is a new clause that will reward “superstar” players for resigning with a team rather than looking for a big contract elsewhere or in a bigger market.

At the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season, record-breaking contracts were signed with Mike Conley becoming the highest paid player in the league. He signed a 5 year $152,605,576 contract with the Memphis Grizzlies with over $140 million guaranteed and over $34 million being paid out in his final contract year in 2020-2021.

Due to the new CBA, the increase in the salary cap, and the talent pool, it is expected that record breaking numbers for free agents this off-season will be met. For example, at the conclusion of this season, Stephen Curry’s contract extension of 4 years for $44 million dollars will come to an end. Because of the new “superstar” clauses and the increased salary cap to $101 million, experts anticipate Curry to become the first $200 million man. Curry, once considered underpaid value player, may very well soon have the NBA’s highest paid contract estimated at $207 million over the course of 5 years with the final year of the contract (2021 - 2022) estimated at $47 million.  

This new CBA agreement will place much more power in the hands of the players and the NBA Players Association mainly due to the large amount of worth that each player will hold in a team’s organization, as well as their growing influence on the perspective of the NBA. Although players will be able to gain massive contracts, the current trend of teams creating a “big 3” set of players will be limited because a team will be unable to maintain and control contracts of three “superstars” while at the same time remaining under the increased salary cap number.

Are we seeing the end of the Big three era? The New CBA will make the NBA quite interesting in the near future.

About the Author: Kyle Cheves is a junior at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, double majoring in History and Sports Management with a minor in Chinese. In the future, he hopes to work in college athletics or possibly in the field of law after attending law school.

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