It was a protracted process, but the league and the players' union have now agreed to all major points in a new collective bargaining, according to Doug Feinberg of the AP. There is still one more hurdle, as the WNBA Board of Governors has to officially approve the deal and will decide on that Friday.
The main issue at hand in negotiations was roster size, where rosters have been at 11 players per team since 2009. Now, teams can have up to 12 players on a team which should help improve the quality of play throughout the league.
Another major change is that teams can now offer bonuses of up to $50,000 per team to players who play less than three months internationally. Here is what WNBA President Laurel Richie said on that issue.
We were very, very mindful that at this point playing overseas is a reality for many of our players. We love the notion of the time off bonus which allows us to offer an incentive to players who may have the interest in limiting their play overseas. It's one of the really terrific things that came out of the negotiations.
From our standpoint and the players' standpoint it creates incentives to take a little bit of a break. It's good for them and the game.
There are also some other minor changes, including a new revenue sharing agreement for the players, and the maximum number of years a player could be cored has now been dropped to four years from five. That may help facilitate more superstar movement in the league and make free agency more interesting over the long run.
Lastly, the WNBA or WNBPA can opt out of the years after six years, or after the 2019 season, but it could last until 2021 as well.
Assuming that the WNBA Board of Governors approves the deal, free agent qualifying offers will be allowed as of next Monday, March 10, and we can expect some teams make trades soon after.
We will talk more about details in the CBA once the deal is done. But I'm looking forward to seeing some player movement over the next couple months and am glad that there now is a light at the end of the tunnel.