NBA’s New Labor Agreement – Good News for the Hornets?

Posted on Nov 28, 2011 in Hornets, Legislation, Local Issues, National Issues, Sports

Photo Courtesy of Zimbio.com

It finally looks like the 150-day NBA lockout will be coming to an end, after both owners and players tentatively agreed to a deal early Saturday morning that would split basketball-related income roughly 50/50 among both sides – and raises hopes for new Hornets ownership that is dedicated to keeping the franchise in New Orleans. The new revenue sharing model, which decreases the portion that players receive of so-called basketball-related income, or “BRI,” from 57 percent to between 49 to 51 percent, means that it is more attractive for a new owner to come forward and invest in the New Orleans franchise. If the deal is ratified, the season would start on Christmas day and would be reduced to 66 games as opposed to the regular 82.

Tulane sports law expert Gabe Feldman said the deal was not perfect for owners of smaller teams, citing that big-market teams would still be able to exploit loopholes to sign away top players, but was still an improvement because of increased revenue sharing and limits on bigger teams’ spending. “I think there’s no question [it helps the ownership search]. I think it makes it more attractive for all owners, but particularly an owner for the Hornets. I think, first of all, the fact that the lockout is now almost over and revenues will start coming in. And there is a system that does make it easier for a team like the Hornets to compete on and off the court,” said Feldman in an interview on Saturday.

However, even with light at the end of the tunnel, significant doubt remains over whether All-Star New Orleans’ point guard Chris Paul will remain with the Hornets. Ironically, under the new proposed CBA, which the NBA is heralding as a fairer approach to contract negotiation, a bigger market team like the New York Knicks could still leverage its larger cap room to attract a big-name player like Paul. Paul has said the new agreement hasn’t effected his decision of whether or not to remain in New Orleans. “I haven’t had an opportunity to do any of that,” he said. “Right now, I’m more worried about packing up so I can get back to the city.”

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