The NBA is negotiating terms on a new T.V. deal worth $2 billion per year over eight-to-nine years that would extend their broadcasting partnership with ESPN and Turner, according to the Sports Business Journal. Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports are not likely to land rights to broadcast NBA games, though they were each expected to make a bid to expand their live game coverage.
The new T.V. deal, as reported, would be a huge bump in revenue for the NBA. It would net the association more than double the $930 million it was receiving from Turner and ESPN annually. The influx of revenue is expected to raise the salary cap, which will be a point of emphasis once the league revisits the collective bargaining agreement in the summer of 2016. It's estimated to raise the salary cap $16 million, according to NBC Sports' Dan Feldman. This was also one of the factors LeBron James took into consideration when he signed a two-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as he will likely be eligible for a larger contract with the projected financial figures.
Good news for the Lakers
The raised salary cap the new T.V. deal will bring teams is great news for a large market team like the Lakers, who will be able further-flex their spending power. The Lakers may be in salary-saving mode now, but it shouldn't be attributed to the front office pinching pennies.
Lakers ownership has never been afraid to dip into the luxury tax, and will have something close to an additional $16 million to spend before being limited by the salary cap. The front office has been careful to retain their future spending ability, and Kobe Bryant's $48.5 million extension will expire once the new figures are finalized.
This will give the Lakers a clean slate to work with, an elevated salary cap and even more revenue to spend on improving the team. The salary cap has made it difficult for the Lakers to use it's financial advantage, but the projected changes gives ownership more room to spend, spend, spend.
The other side of this coin is the raised expectations. Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak may have more dollars to spread around, but if they don't use the expected breathing room, it could look bad from a distance. The Lakers are a lucrative franchise and fans and analysts alike will expect them to use that additional power to bring the franchise back into prominence.
Players will likely also use the additional revenue, and salary cap space, as a point of leverage in CBA discussions, along with their individual contract negotiations. More spending power could mean more lucrative contracts for players, as LeBron's previously mentioned contract with the Cavaliers shows. This could raise the league's average contract value comparatively, taking away from the "additional" spending space.
Either way, more money into the NBA is a good thing. How it ultimately affects the landscape is still too far out to project, but the league will likely want their new finances in line before CBA negotiations re-open in 2016. Barring a significant change, the association has the biggest piece of the puzzle in place.