NBL and players lock in new CBA with higher minimum wages

Rank-and-file NBL players are the big winners after the NBL and Australian Basketball Players' Association (ABPA) agreed on a three-year collective bargaining agreement.

Minimum wage for roster players has increased to $55,000, up from $38,000 four years ago while for the first-time development players will have a minimum wage of $17,000 after previously having some players training for little or no pay.

The NBL salary cap will rise to $1.43 million for next season.

The average total wage-and-support package for NBL rostered players was $146,000 last season, up from $120,000 the previous season and it will likely rise next season as the clubs will provide all players with health insurance and more access to programs for mental health, career transition and education.

NBL players have won significant wage rises in their new CBA with the league.Credit:AAP

ABPA chief executive Jacob Holmes praised the deal, which took seven months to complete, as the best conditions NBL players have ever received.

"It’s a big step forward for the NBL, it establishes the best conditions ever for players and the result of really good negotiations," Holmes said.

"One of the big outcomes from this was the minimum wage for development players as the feedback from those DPs and from veteran players was that as a league that is elite, we needed to make sure we had the right conditions as DPs often turn into good NBL players."

The deal was important for the NBL as it looks to continue its growth and maintain the highest standards for players with the league determined to be considered among the best in the world after the NBA and Euro League.

Just as importantly, the agreement establishes a new threshold for lower-paid players to be able to play in off-season leagues to supplement their income.

Presently players can join up with NBL1, state league teams or even overseas competitions once their NBL commitments are complete but some clubs have made it difficult when they want a player to rest or not have their pre-season training interrupted by other games.

"The good thing about the threshold is we think players paid up to that number need to be able to play in the off-season from a financial prospective and from a development prospective," Holmes said.

"We don't want to see players sitting in the off-season and not playing, especially those with the capacity to earn another income in another league.

"We think that's a threshold where by that makes sense for everybody and still provides the opportunity for clubs to engage with players in the off-season at a higher level if they want to make sure they can promote and market the league."

NBL chief executive Jeremy Loeliger said the league and its players needed each other to build a stronger league.

"This is a landmark agreement that recognises the NBL's status as one of the premier leagues in the world and acknowledge the players as a fundamental stakeholder and partner in the growth and ongoing success of the competition," Loeliger said.

"The league's and the players' fortunes are linked.

"Neither can grow and flourish here in Australia without the other also being successful. Importantly, this agreement reflects that we need to invest in growth on and off the court to ensure the most important part of our game – the players – are supported both as athletes and as people."

Meanwhile, former Melbourne United import Josh Boone confirmed his move to the Illawarra Hawks on a one-season deal on Tuesday.

Boone was hurt by Melbourne opting not to bring him back for a fourth season after he played a pivotal role in their 2017-18 championship and making last season's grand final.

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