Miami Heat relieved as NBA, players reach agreement on tentative CBA deal

Miami Heat guard Wayne Ellington (2) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Denver. The Heat won 106-98. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Miami Heat guard Wayne Ellington (2) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Denver. The Heat won 106-98. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

MIAMI — When Erik Spoelstra returned to his office after Wednesday’s win over the Pacers, he was relieved to hear the good news.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association reached a tentative seven-year deal Wednesday on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It was agreed to just a day before the sides faced a deadline for opting out of the current deal.

“It is a relief,” Spoelstra said after Wednesday’s game. “We’ve been through, I think, three (work stoppages) and you just come to expect it. That’s how sad that is. You come to expect it that come July it will turn into something else and then ugly and then stop communicating and then we’re off and we’re not doing what we want to do and love to do.”

But it looks like there won’t be a work stoppage in the NBA anytime soon.

If the new deal is approved by votes of players and owners as expected, there will not be a lockout next summer and for years to come. The tentative CBA can be opted out after six years.

“Obviously it’s something that we all wanted to get done,” said Wayne Ellington, who is the Heat’s representative to the National Basketball Players Association. “We all want to continue to play. We don’t want any lockouts or anything like that. So we’re happy both sides could come together and come to a conclusion.”

The tentative deal includes increases across the board in player contracts. Along with bigger contracts for maximum salaried players, minimum salaries for veterans with 10 or more years of service, players with five or more years of service, rookie players on their rookie scale contracts and salaries of players who sign under the mid-level exception will all increase.

“The stars are always going to be taken care of. They’re always going to get the top money, but there’s a huge drop off,” Ellington said. “Obviously guys that are at the bottom and aren’t making those huge salaries, you’re still getting a nice portion of money, which is fair at the end of the day.

“I feel like it’s a deal that’s fair. I think that’s all we were asking for.”

Here are noteworthy items that are reportedly part of the new CBA:

* The expected maximum salary in 2017-18 for a player with 10 or more years of service will be $36 million. The maximum salary for players with between seven and nine years of experience is projected to be $31 million.

* The “Over 36” rule will be changed to the “Over 38” rule. This rule controls how salaries are averaged out during multi-season contracts for older players. With the rule now being pushed back for players who are over 38 years old, it will allow teams to sign older players to longer deals.

* There will be “two-way” contracts for teams to use on players who will bounce from an NBA team to that NBA team’s Development League team. There will be additional roster spots created for the players who fall under this category, allowing NBA teams to retain their rights even when they are playing in the D-League. Players on these “two-way” contracts will receive more money if they opt to go to the D-League, as the NBA works to keep players from taking contracts overseas.

* The current “one and done” rule will remain in place. This rule prohibits players to declare for the NBA Draft until they’ve completed a year of college or have been out of high school for a year.

* A shorter preseason that will include no more than six exhibition games. There will also be an earlier start to the regular season, which is expected to help reduce a team’s amount of back-to-back games and stretches of four games in five nights.

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