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NBA and union delay opt-out contract deadline to March 31

The NBA and its players union have extended the early opt-out contract deadline. Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images/AFP

The NBA and its players union announced Monday they have extended the early opt-out contract deadline on their current deal from Wednesday to March 31 as talks on a new agreement continue.

The ongoing seven-year collective bargaining agreement between the league and the National Basketball Players Association expires after the 2023-24 season.

But if either the NBA or the union decided to opt out, the deal would end on June 30 after the current campaign.

That means trades, free agency and other league business would shut down with a lockout by owners likely and there would be a risk of missing regular-season games starting next October.

But negotiations were going well enough that the NBA and union pushed back an earlier December 15 deadline to February 8 to avoid the risk of opt-out issues.

A major reason for optimism, ESPN reported, has been NBA willingness to soften an original desire for a hard upper-level spending limit on team payrolls rather than a luxury tax system.

Teams from smaller NBA markets had hoped to ease spending from clubs in larger markets such as Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State. Big-city clubs have been more willing to pay huge salaries and luxury tax penalties to help lure top talent.

Union leaders had been firm about fighting such a tight salary cap.

While 20 of the NBA’s 30 clubs are below the luxury tax level, the other 10 are projected to spend a record $689 million in luxury tax penalties, ESPN reported.


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