This site breaks down key provisions of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement by dividing the 598-page document into separate, understandable parts. Once broken down, it is easier to understand what insider phrases from the CBA — a “qualifying offer” or a “designated rookie” — actually mean and how they fit into the bigger picture of building an NBA team. The site separates the CBA into nine concept pages (like “player types” and “contract types”), with internal links to overlapping concepts and external links to interesting examples or helpful explanations.
In an effort to make the content more readable, capitalized and defined terms are just used on the page where the concept is actually explained. (The CBA, like any lengthy contract, uses more defined terms than I care to count.) Otherwise, the site includes internal links to the overlapping concept. Some of the CBA is better understood with reference to the NBA’s Constitution and By-Laws (basically the NBA’s written governance structure). While the NBA’s Constitution and By-Laws do not apply to players, these documents help provide context to the CBA.
I grew up in Raleigh, NC, where basketball has almost religious significance. While much of that is centered around college teams, my basketball interest extends to the NBA. When I read about the league, I had a vague understanding of insider phrases. A comment by Chris Bosh in a February 2019 podcast with Bill Simmons pushed me to gain more detailed knowledge. Chris thought every player should read the CBA. I have been a lawyer for almost 10 years and I figured I could read and understand the CBA myself, and maybe prepare a summary. This is, after all, what law school teaches law students to do. So I printed out the CBA and started reading. Even with my legal background, I found it hard to retain its content in an understandable way. If I was struggling, I thought a player’s time would be better spent reviewing a summary. While the NBA has posted a short primer about the CBA (called “CBA 101”), even the primer can be hard to digest. I still wanted to break the CBA down into more approachable, understandable concepts. Hence this site, which was originally published in April of 2019.