According to The Associated Press, LeBron James, who is the vice president of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee, has said that the union has made getting more money for retired players a priority in collective bargaining negotiations. The players are willing to maintain their 50-50 share of basketball related income (BRI) if it allows them to negotiate programs to help retired players with education and medical expenses:
“We got a group of guys that are in there that know the negotiations, so any way to give back and try to help our former teammates and help former players and things of that nature,” James said. “Because we’ve all built this league together. No matter how big of a guy you were or if you were the 15th guy on the bench, we all built this league into what it is today. But it’s not just my idea. I’m not taking any credit for that. But it’s all part of the process.”
The league and union will meet next week in advance of the NBA Board of Governor’s meeting that begins Oct. 20. Unlike the 2011 collective bargaining negotiations that resulted in a lockout and shortened season, both sides are reportedly committed to making a deal this time around.
Other issues are expected to come up in negotiations. For one, provisions to allow teams to maintain longer control for homegrown players are an agenda item for owners who watched Kevin Durant leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors this offseason. There are also reportedly talks of a higher rookie salary as well as the implementation of two-way contracts that would pay players less while with D-League teams and more while with NBA teams.