NBA Lockout Talks Result In Shorter Restricted Free Agency Window, Loosened Trade Rules

The 30 hours of ultimately doomed NBA lockout negotiations held last week under the wathcful eye of federal mediator George ohen weren't completely fruitless, reports Chris Sheridan. The league and players' union did reach agreements on a number of smaller issues at play in the stoppage.

Sheridan reports that league officials agreed to shrink the restricted free agency window from seven days down to 3-4 days at the behest of the players. Under the old system, once restricted free agents signed offer sheets with non-incumbent teams, the players' previous team had up to seven days to match the offer and maintain the players' rights. This can create a hazard for teams looking to sign restricted free agents, as their cap space is tied up until the other team makes a decision. (Teams rarely match or decline offers before the seven-day window is close to ending; one notable exception is Josh Smith in 2009, as the Atlanta Hawks matched the Memphis Grizzlies' offer almost immediately.)

The other tweak nearly agreed upon would loosen up trade rules. Under the old system, teams over the salary cap had to send out contracts worth roughly the same annually as those coming in -- the window there is 125 percent plus $100,000. The union has pushed to expand that wiggle room to up to 225 percent; the league has agreed to open it up a bit, but only to 150 percent. One assumes a deal point can be found between.

But of these specific tweaks will open up the league to more player movement in theory. Hurray for trade deadline day!

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