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NBA free agents told to brace for possible 2017 lockout

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The NBA player's union advised free agents to accept longer payment schedules that would keep checks coming in case of a lockout.

Thearon W. Henderson

The National Basketball Player's Association is advising NBA free agents to ready for a lockout by accepting their annual payments over 18-month periods rather than the standard six or 12 months, reports Bloomberg News.

The current collective bargaining agreement includes an opt-out ability for owners and players following the 2016-17 season.

USA Today's Sam Amick reports that agents are being advised to write in contract provisions for their free agents that will allow players to accept payments over a longer period of time. That will allow players more security if a lockout happens, as they would receive paychecks through a lockout-shortened season in 2017-18 if it came to that.

Bloomberg News received a copy of the NBPA email sent by acting executive director Ron Klempner, who compared the players' situation to the agreement between the league and its TV partners.

"As we have learned in the past, the owners have made provisions with the TV networks to continue to receive rights fees throughout a work stoppage, and there is no reason the players should not make every effort to take the same precaution," the e-mail said.

The ability to receive 18-month payment schedules was written into the collective bargaining agreement from 2011. Discussions from that lockout cut the 2011-12 season to 66 games, and a number of players signed deals to play overseas as a result.