Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated did some ace reporting and managed to dig up some good news and some bad news about the NBA’s new proposal to the NBAPA. The good news it that the definition of a franchise tag has been muted substantially, and that it doesn’t look like it would be quite as unfair as it is in the NFL, since the player would also have to agree to it:
The system the league has presented would not work this way, according to sources. Instead, a team would be allowed to designate one player for preferential contractual treatment, including more overall money, more guaranteed money and at least one extra year on his contract. A player would have to agree to such a designation. It is designed to work as an incentive to get a player to remain with his team rather than as a roadblock to free agency, the sources said.
That doesn’t seem too unreasonable. In fact, it’s a failsafe that probably should have been worked into the 1999 Collective Bargaining Agreement. It would be a way to truly pay up to the level that a superstar player is worth. Although owners would probably abuse it to hand out more contracts like Joe Johnson’s, it would be good for the real superstars of the game.
Of course, it likely doesn’t matter as long as the NBA keeps going on with ideas like the non-guaranteed contract scenario they presented the union with. But their version of a franchise tag doesn’t seem so bad. At least based on what is being reported.