This is relatively minor when you consider the many issues currently at the forefront of NBA lockout discussions, but it's something. Via David Aldridge:
In one small but encouraging sign in the last-minute negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement, a source who has been briefed on the discussions between the two sides said Monday afternoon that the sides are close to an agreement on one "system" aspect that has proven troublesome -- a new, shorter mid-level exception for free agents.
Frankly, it's kind of amazing it took this long to come close to agreeing on something as minor as this. Bad mid-level contracts have really hurt the league and teams recently (take one look at the Milwaukee Bucks, for example). It's probably good that teams will be punished less for the inevitable mistakes they'll make with them. Normally, I'm sympathetic to the viewpoint that teams shouldn't be protected from themselves, but the mid-level is so tempting and I see no problem with throwing owners and teams a bone by placing yearly limits on them.
Aldridge doesn't specify a yearly limit for mid-level deals. I'm cool with three years myself, which Aldridge says the owners have hoped to do.
Editor's Note: Original post said they agreed - turns out they are just close to an agreement. That's my error. -mp