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I Think I May Have Solved One Of The Biggest Issues In The NBA

Jonathan Bachman. Getty Images.

I've mentioned it in a couple blogs over the last few weeks, but with all this KD drama flying around it really makes me nervous for what I think might happen in the not so distant future. You see, the current CBA is set to expire after the 2023-24 season, but both sides have the right to opt out of the current deal this December if something isn't ironed out by then. A lot has changed since 2017 which is when the current CBA was signed, so my guess is we'll be seeing that opt out.

With the new TV money coming in I'm sure the topic of revenue sharing will be a big issue in these negotiations, but if the past 2ish years have shown us anything, my guess is we're also going to hear about player's contracts/trade demands being a hot button issue as well.

This is a topic that really doesn't have an easy answer in terms of how it gets "fixed". What we've seen happen over the last few years is players signing their max extensions and then immediately demanding a trade, guys refusing to play, or guys demand a trade with multiple years left on their current deal. My guess is owners aren't thrilled with this recent trend. If they are going to shell out a 4 or 5 year max, I would assume they are expecting that player who signs the deal to ya know, actually play or be committed to the deal. Where that gets tricky is a team can trade a player whenever they want, so what's the difference if players take some of that power back? Do you think Joe Tsai is happy right now with what's going on with KD, or how he had to trade Harden or how Simmons just never played?

So, after a couple 3Chis, I think I've come up with something that could be the initial framework of a solution. Keep in mind, I'm a moron, but while in the clouds yesterday this all made sense to my brain. I've decided to take it to the blog to see what you might think, while knowing that most of the comments will just be what a moron I am and how this is a terrible idea. I'm not a lawyer, I'm not someone who knows every word of the CBA and what's allowed, I'm just someone who doesn't want to see the NBA go through another lockout and if I have to do my part and speak something into existence, I will. Of course, I would like a smart person to take my initial framework and tweak it to something that might actually be allowed if my plan needs some adjustment, but I think I have something here.

The biggest issue in my opinion with this whole thing comes down to the idea that the owners and players probably want some sort of protection when they sign these deals. For every KD that demands a trade in the first year of his extension, there's a Blake Griffin who was traded to the Pistons about 35 seconds after signing his big extension with the Clippers. For my idea I focused on the 4 and 5 year exertions, so here is what I propose

4 Year Extension

- In the first 2 a player can't demand a trade, but gets a no trade clause in return for those years

- From years 3-4, a player can demand out and the team can trade whenever

5 Year Extension

- In the first 3 years a player can't demand a trade, but gets a no trade clause in return of those years

- From Years 4-5, a player can demand out and the team can trade whenever

OK, please hold your applause for a second and allow me to expand a little bit. Here's my thinking. 

This idea would give both sides some protection. On the team side, they don't have to worry about having to trade a player immediately after giving him an extension and maybe building their entire roster around that player. On the player side, they get some protection that they cannot be Blake Griffin'd. In the last two years of the deal, everything goes back to how it is now. Players can demand out, teams can trade the players whenever, and the no trade clause doesn't exist for the final two seasons. 

Question #1: How do you prevent someone from demanding a trade?

I'll admit, this one is a bit tricky. How do legislate someone from demanding a trade, or having someone in their camp suggest they want to be traded? I dunno, let the lawyers figure that shit out. I'm an ideas guy. My thought is if players are concerned that they could be traded whenever after they sign that extension, that's where the no trade clause comes in. If somehow it comes out that the player wants to be traded, they lose their no trade clause and run the risk of being traded to like the Magic or some shit (no offense). 

I'm also open to the idea where if he does demand a trade, the actual contract numbers adjust, but I'm still workshopping that.

Question #2: What about the trade deadline? Wouldn't this limit trades?

That's the beauty of my no trade clause idea. Let's say the team knows a player is unhappy or they get a call about a guy that's in the early part of his extension. There can still be trades, as long as the player is cool with it if it's within the first 2 or 3 years of that extension depending on what they signed. In most cases at the trade deadline we see players get moved who have 1 or 2 more years left on their deal, which wouldn't be an issue with my idea, those could still happen.

Question #3: How do you prevent someone from holding out and just not showing up?

Essentially, you can't. If someone wants to sit out then that's on them. Just use the existing rule of not having to pay them. I just don't think it's likely that a player would sit out 2-3 years until they would be eligible to be traded under my idea, so I think that alone would prevent someone from sitting out unless you're Ben Simmons.

You could also have language in there where if they hold out or refuse to play, they lose their no trade clause as well.

Question #4: Why would a player sign a 4-5 year extension if this were to happen instead of a shorter deal?

I dunno, I get the impression that NBA players love guaranteed money. I'm pretty sure a player who qualifies for supermax money or is regular max eligible isn't going to turn that down to sign a 1+1 instead. I know LeBron does the 1+1 every year, but not every player in the NBA is LeBron. Especially as these stars get older, they want as much money/years as possible in most cases.

Question #5: Why do the players say yes?

For starters, they still get their extension while also getting some protection that they can't be shipped off immediately upon signing (unless they agree). They also still get the freedom to do what they want once they get halfway through a deal. It's called compromise people.

Question #6: Why do the owners say yes?

It in theory prevents the exact issue we're witnessing with KD. That shit can ruin a franchise and send them from contention to the lottery in a blink of an eye. They're also given the opportunity to operate like it does now towards the back half of the deal, usually when teams look to flip expiring or soon to expire assets. It gives them the best of both worlds in a sense. Some protection and confidence they'll have their superstar upon giving him an extension, and the freedom to do whatever they want in the back half.

Question #7: What about player/team options?

Since these come at the end of a contract, it would be no different than what we see now. The players can sign an extension with no options (like KD) or a player option (like Tatum/Mitchell etc).

Alright so admit it, despite me being a moron and coming up with this idea while not totally in a normal frame of mind, it kind of makes sense right? At least in terms of a starting point to this very real issue. I'm sure there are specifics that would need to change or language that would need to be added and all that bullshit, but I think this is the way. Everyone basically gets what they want as long as both sides are willing to compromise. 

So did I just save the NBA from potentially entering a lockout over this issue? Many people are saying yes. I'm not, but people are. Something tells me Adam Silver is going to read this blog so don't be surprised if some variation of this plan is what happens. It makes too much sense to my idiot brain that doesn't know all the rules. That alone should be enough to get this thing ironed out.