What are the CBA changes in the NBA? Full breakdown for 2023-24 season

The league and players agreed to an updated deal this year, with several key changes coming to the NBA soon

Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA is going through changes.

Two months ago, the league and the National Basketball Players Association came to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Led by new NBPA president CJ McCollum, the deal has some positives and negatives for both groups. Either way, it’s clear that team building is going to look a lot different moving forward.

Here's what you need to know about the new changes in the NBA and how it could impact teams:

What is the new CBA in the NBA?

The NBA and NBPA reached an agreement on the new CBA on April 1, which means there will be no lockouts in the foreseeable future. The league and players announced the deal and it was later ratified by league governors and players on April 26. On July 1, 2023, the new CBA will officially take effect.

How long is the new NBA CBA?

The new CBA is a seven-year agreement through the 2029-30 season. There is a mutual opt-out option for both sides after the 2028-29 season, so at least six years of labor peace are guaranteed.

How does the new NBA CBA work?

There are several key differences on the financial side of the new CBA. Here’s how they work:

The second tax apron

  • Teams that are $17.5 million over the luxury tax threshold have restrictions.
    • These teams can’t sign players to the mid-level expectation. This clause would have prevented the 2022 signings of Danilo Gallinari (Celtics), Donte DiVincenzo (Warriors), Joe Ingles (Bucks) and John Wall (Clippers).
    • These teams can’t take in more salary in a trade than they are sending out. Previously, they could take back 125% of their outgoing salaries.
    • These teams can’t trade first-round picks seven years out anymore (all teams below the second apron can).
    • These teams can’t trade cash in a deal (this will prevent them from being able to “buy” second-round picks on draft night).
    • These teams can’t sign buyout players during the season. This would have prevented the 2023 buyout signings of Russell Westbrook (Clippers), Goran Dragic (Bucks), Terrence Ross (Suns) and Justin Holiday (Mavericks).

Contract extensions

  • Veteran extensions can now be worth up to 140% of the player's previous salary, an increase from 120% in the previous CBA.
    • This clause will be especially useful for players approaching their third contract who signed a “below market” rookie extension. Jaylen Brown, Domantas Sabonis, Dejounte Murray and Lauri Markkanen, for example, all signed for less than the max rookie extension but are in line for monster third contracts. They can now sign bigger extensions ahead of time, if they choose.

Cap smoothing

  • Salary cap rises will be capped at 10% each year.
    • This rule is notable after what happened in the summer of 2016, when the cap spiked by 32% and chaos ensued. Role players received more lucrative deals than expected, while the Warriors gained enough space to sign Kevin Durant.

What are the other new NBA rules for 2023-24?

There are two other significant changes in the new CBA: award voting and the in-season tournament.

Award voting

  • Players must appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for awards (MVP, All-NBA, etc.)
  • The three All-NBA and two All-Defensive teams will be positionless, rather than the traditional voting of two guards, two forwards and a center for each team.

In-season tournament

  • A mid-season tournament will likely be introduced during the 2023-24 season.
  • Teams will be divided into six intra-conference groups of five teams apiece, playing everyone in the group once for the first round – which will be part of the regular season schedule.
  • The six group winners and two wild card teams will advance to an eight-team, single-elimination tournament.
  • The final four will be played at a neutral location.
  • Group play, quarterfinals and semifinals will count toward regular season records, but the final won’t.
  • Each player on the winning team will earn $500,000, runner-up players will earn $200,000, semifinal losing players will earn $100,000 and quarterfinal losing players will earn $50,000.
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