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Franchise tag may not be part of NBA’s future after all

Jun 3, 2011, 12:39 PM EDT

David Stern AP

A lot of things that were thrown out on the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiating table in the last year were never intended to be part of the final deal. Like contraction — David Stern put that on he table just for something to take off during negotiations to get something he wants.

Apparently, the franchise tag is the same thing.

This is what David Stern said in a press conference before Game 1, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune.

“That hasn’t been proposed,” Stern said. “We have historically tried to make it more attractive for a player to stay with his current team, and I’m sure that trend will continue, if not enhanced.

“But as you consider this with respect to the small-market teams, and you think about what a harder cap might do for them, and you consider what revenue sharing might do for them, there are sort of limits what the committee is thinking about, and the franchise tag is not one of them. Although a strong incentive for a player to stay with his team and the ability of the team to keep the player is there.’’

The NBA’s latest deal did not propose an NFL-style franchise tag, where a team can just take a player off the market and pay him the equivalent of the top five players at that position.

Rather, what the NBA is offering is more of a dramatic incentive for players to stay, much larger than exists now. It could be as much as $50 million over the life of a contract, but it would not be something the player would be forced to accept. But we are a long way away from knowing what that will formally look like.

  1. sportsinhd - Jun 3, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    It would be a mistake if the NBA didn’t pursue a “franchise tag” a la the NFL. If players are allowed to hold their teams hostage and trade them for pennies on the dollar (Melo), the NBA will end up “top heavy.” Players will figure out a way to end up only in the big markets and small market teams will suffer. It won’t quite be Major League Baseball, but it will be difficult for the Sacramento’s of the world to rebuild.

    I know what some of you are thinking “it’s all about the salary,” but sometimes it’s not. You can make more money off of endorsements and playing on a winning team, especially when the salary cap is lowered in the next CBA.

    Right now teams gamble when a formerly signed player won’t renew a contract and they go on the free market. Obviously Cleveland comes to mind, and LeBron was certainly within his rights to do whatever he wanted, but what could the Cavs have done differently in that situation? If you were the GM of that team you would have gone all out for James too, and if it falls apart you aren’t left with any recourse. At least one or two years of “franchise tags” would keep certain franchises from absolute collapse.

  2. wizahdry - Jun 3, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    NBA needs to do something. If the league is losing money now what is going to happen when the top 20 players in the league are split among only the biggest 8 markets and the other 20 something teams have no one interesting to watch. As it is the NBA has the least amount of parity in sports. Since 1984 only 7 different teams have one the championship. That will remain in tact if Miami wins this year.
    If the NBA title has only been hoisted by a little more than 1/4 of the total teams when each team had at least one superstar I don’t see it getting any better now. Lebron has set the precedent. Teams need to have a way to control their drafted stars longer. Otherwise, might as well contract now and just have an 8-10 team league. The league will be further in the red when 70-75 % of the arenas are empty with no one watching.

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