NEW YORK -- NBA commissioner Adam Silver said it is too early to be concerned about a potential work stoppage in the NBA.
The league and the NBA Players Association can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement following the 2016-17 season.
With stars like LeBron James talking about the impact of the NBA's new mammoth TV deal and how owners can't cry poverty at the next CBA negotiations, the league and the players could potentially find themselves in the midst of another labor dispute down the road.
"It's premature even for me to be concerned," Silver said at a press conference following the NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York. "We negotiated a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, there is a six-year out for either side. We are going into year four. We have, in my mind, something that is incredibly positive and that is two new great media deals. Fifty-one percent of that money goes to the players."
"I've said previously, we didn't get everything we wanted in the last collective bargaining cycle, either," Silver added.
The NBA recently agreed to a nine-year extension of its TV deal with ESPN and TNT that is reportedly worth $2.66 billion, according to the New York Times. That deal begins in 2016-17.
When asked about the impact of the new television deal, Silver mentioned that one-third of the league's teams "are not profitable under the current system despite revenue sharing." The current CBA was agreed upon following a 161-day lockout. The NBA claimed it was losing $300 million annually at the time, with 22 of 30 owners operating at a financial loss. The players union agreed to accept approximately 50 percent of the league's annual basketball-related income, which was a decrease from the 57 percent they had received from the previous CBA.
"It is our hope that with that additional money (from the new TV deal), if we can keep our other expenses under control, we will have a better operating league," Silver said. "And that over time will continue to grow."
"So what this new television money will mean is teams will have a greater opportunity to be profitable, because at the current time, remember, this money doesn't come into our system until 2016-17," Silver added.
Silver said he has been in contact with NBA Players Association union leader Michelle Roberts and Chris Paul, the Players Association president.
Silver said the NBA has begun discussions with the union about "smoothing" in the money from the new television deals, so that there isn't a dramatic increase in the salary cap in 2016-17 which could impact free agency and teams' future planning and building.
"We would smooth the increase in," Silver said. "The players would still receive what becomes 51 percent ... While players would still receive every nickel of their 51 percent that year, we will in essence artificially lower the cap and then make a shortfall payment directly to the union, and then they will distribute that money proportionately to the players."
Silver said after his press conference that he wouldn't mind a harder salary cap in the future but didn't believe that would be a breaking point in future negotiations.
"There's gradations of hardness in terms of the cap as well," Silver said. "I wish our current cap system were harder. It is what we proposed last time but we compromised."