The NBA and its players’ union reached a tentative agreement on a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement Saturday.
To become official, the deal will need to be ratified both by NBA team owners and by NBA players. Because the agreement has not yet been ratified, specific details have not been publicly confirmed by either party.
One concession to players is that marijuana has been removed from the league’s drug testing program, and as such they will no longer be penalized for toking up, sources briefed on the negotiations told The Athletic.
League officials, however, have gotten one of their goals fulfilled as well, according to the Associated Press.
Barring changes later in the negotiations, teams will be given an 80-game schedule for the 2023-2024 season in August, with four of those games being part of an in-season tournament, a new feature previously backed by league commissioner Adam Silver.
From there, two more games will be added for each team in order to reach the current 82-game slate, and the two final teams in the in-season tournament will play an 83rd game that, unlike other in-season tournament games, will not count in the standings.
Players on the team that wins the in-season tournament would each receive a $500,000 prize, according to The Athletic.
The practice of “load management,” in which players sit out of games in order to reduce wear and tear on their bodies, may also be impacted by another change — to be eligible for league awards such as Most Valuable Player, a player will have to play at least 65 of 82 games.
High school players, meanwhile, will still have to go to college or sign with the NBA’s developmental G League Ignite for at least a year before entering the NBA draft.
The league has not allowed high schoolers to declare for the draft since 2006, and the current minimum age for draft eligibility is 19.
The change had been discussed and was on the agenda for months, according to The Associated Press.
• Brad Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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