DALLAS -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes the idea of doing away with maximum contracts, as suggested by Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, could be considered by the league, as long as players are willing to give up something significant in return.
"If you give up guarantees, it's a trade-off," Cuban said before Tuesday night's preseason opener against the Houston Rockets.
Cuban mentioned a system similar to the NFL's in which guaranteed money is part of negotiations for each contract. NBA contracts are fully guaranteed unless the parties agree on other terms.
The NBA's salary cap will increase dramatically in the summer of 2016 due to the nine-year extension of the league's television deal that was announced Monday.
The new TV deal is worth $2.66 billion annually, according to a New York Times report, almost three times the value of the league's current deal.
In the wake of that news, Durant suggested that the league should no longer have a maximum restriction on individual player contracts. Durant, who is due to be a free agent in 2016, said several maximum-salaried players generate much more revenue than they are paid.
"Look at it like this, Kobe Bryant brings in a lot of money to Los Angeles, that downtown area," Durant said, according to The Oklahoman. "Clippers are getting up there; Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and those guys are bringing in a lot of money as well. Look at Cleveland, look at Miami when LeBron [James] was there.
"These guys are worth more than what they are making because of the money that they bring to that area. That's a conversation you can always have, but until it's changed, you never know what will happen to it."
According to Cuban, it's a conversation than league's owners are willing to have, as they did during negotiations for the current collective bargaining agreement.
"It was discussed during the lockout time among owners but never got anywhere," Cuban said. "So it was just one of those trial balloons. I'm not offering this as a negotiation, I'm not suggesting it. All I'm saying is that was something we discussed before, and max contracts are always big question, guarantees are always a big question. But we have two years before that's even an issue, so no point discussing it now."
Cuban declined to discuss how the new television deal might affect the labor relationship between the league and the players association, such as whether this would help avoid a lockout when the sides can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement after the 2016-17 season.
"I have no idea, it's too early," Cuban said. "Who knows? Things change so rapidly in business that you can't predict two years from now."
The current collective bargaining agreement was agreed to in December 2011 after a 161-day lockout. The league claimed it was losing $300 million annually, with 22 of the 30 owners operating at a loss. The players accepted a new deal that gave them approximately 50 percent of the league's annual basketball-related income (BRI), a sharp decrease from the 57 percent they received from the previous CBA.
James has been vocal, among other stars, about the league not being able to claim financial stress during the next negotiations in wake of the lucrative TV deal and the skyrocketing prices of franchises, topped by the Clippers selling for $2 billion.
"It's a lot of money, don't get me wrong, and I'm grateful, but it's not going to create so much incremental revenue after you pay out the percentages to the players that it's going to be a shocking windfall," Cuban said of the TV deal's impact. "It'll be good, but not shocking."