NEW YORK • Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul is enthusiastic about a new seven-year National Basketball Association (NBA) labour deal that promises players a significant slice of the billions of dollars being generated by the league.
A nine-year, US$24 billion (S$34.6 billion) television agreement with ESPN and Turner Sports was reached on Wednesday, one day before an opt-out deadline.
If ratified as expected, it will result in the most prosperous era in the history of the NBA and ensure no work stoppage will stop the cash from flowing.
"It's amazing, it's great," said Paul, the National Basketball Players Association president, who was particularly pleased with provisions for health care and health insurance for former players.
"I'm happy for the league, I'm happy for our fans, the owners, everyone who's involved. It's a great thing."
The NBA did not release any details of the tentative agreement, but the US media reported that players will keep a share of between 49 and 51 per cent of basketball-related income (BRI).
That is less than the 57 per cent share they receive under the current contract. But the definition of BRI has been expanded and Forbes reported players can expect to see US$1.5 billion more in the first year of the new deal than they saw under the 2011 contract soon to expire.
The business magazine predicts that the money infused into the salary cap system will fuel player earnings across the board - from rookie contracts to those of veteran stars. It projects that the average player salary next season is US$8.5 million and will grow to US$10 million by 2020-21.
Paul spoke warmly of the negotiating process, praising the efforts of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts. "I think everyone negotiated in good faith," he said. "The conversations were great."