North American basketball’s National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have agreed to a new tentative seven-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that is set to start with the 2023-24 season.

The two sides have been in negotiations for more than a year and previously agreed to delay the deadline to opt out of the current CBA twice from December 2022 to February 2023 and then to midnight ET on Saturday (April 1)  in an effort to reach a new agreement. Had either party chosen to opt out of the CBA, it would have ended on June 30.

If the two sides had not been able to agree on a new deal by the April deadline, the risk of a labor stoppage would have increased significantly. The last NBA lockout came in 2011 and resulted in the 2011-12 season being reduced to 66 games.

However, an in-principal deal was announced by the league on Saturday and is expected to be ratified by the league’s board of governors and players in the coming weeks.

The new CBA is due to run through the 2023-24 to 2029-30 seasons but includes a mutual opt-out clause after the sixth year.

NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said: “Since day one, the goal of the NBPA in this negotiation was to protect our players, enrich their lives on and off the court, and establish a framework that recognizes our players as true partners with the governors in both the NBA and business world at large.”

Among the significant inclusions in the new CBA is the long-discussed in-season tournament for which commissioner Adam Silver has been pushing. The tournament could begin next season as an eight-team, single-elimination event in December, with the winning team reportedly to receive $500,000 per player in prize money.

Barring a change to the current plan, teams will be given an 80-game schedule for next season in August.

Those games include tournament games, around four, that will count in regular-season standings and all teams will have two more games added to their schedule to give a total of 82 games. The two teams that make the tournament finals will play an 83rd game that won’t count in the standings.

A source told news outlet the Associated Press a minimum game requirement for major end-of-season awards has also been included, with players having to appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for individual awards such as Most Valuable Player. 

Another major element of the new CBA is a new second luxury tax level that will curb the ability of the highest-spending teams, like the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers, to continue running up enormous luxury tax bills that sometimes exceed their total player salary payrolls.

The league and some teams were pushing for a hard salary cap, which would have given a ceiling on how much teams could spend to help balance the playing field, but the second luxury tax compromise will see teams lose several key team-building mechanisms, including the taxpayer mid-level exception, utilizing cash in trades, and signing free agent players in the buyout market if they run $17.5 million over the tax line.

The new deal also includes an increase to the upper limits on veteran players’ contract extensions from the current 120% increase to a 140% increase. In addition, it will allow players to invest in both NBA and Women's National Basketball Association teams, as well as promote and invest in sports betting and cannabis companies.

The agreement does not end the process, with the team owners and players now having to vote to approve the deal. If voted in, the final document will have to be written up ahead of the 2023-24 season.

If successful, the new deal will mark the second consecutive CBA to be negotiated without the stoppage that accompanied talks in 2011 and led to players being locked out for 161 days.

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