Ted Leonsis confirmed on his blog, Ted’s Take, that he was among the 25 NBA owners who voted to approve the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement that would ensure a 66-game season beginning on Christmas. Five owners voted against the new deal.
Leonsis was fined $100,000 before last season when he declared his preference for a labor deal that included a salary cap structure similar to the NHL. The deal approved by the owners does not have a hard salary cap but it does possess a nearly 50-50 split of basketball-related income, a reduction in contract lengths and annual raises, a harsher luxury tax penalty and other restrictions that make it harder for high-spending teams to improve.
Teams can begin signing rookies and free agents beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday and the Wizards will hold their first practice at Verizon Center three hours later. Leonis addressed some of the reports that labeled him as a hard-line “hawk” during the negotiations in his blog. He wrote:
“There is no need to look backwards- to address issues raised during the lockout. There was a lot said - a lot written - a lot speculated. Some of it seemed quite emotional - some if it hurtful; some of it factually incorrect. But we move forward now - we take the high road - as the quiet period is over - we talk of a new day and a go forward plan, only! My main focus during all of the negotiations and discussions was that we all have the opportunity to craft a team that can be competitive - that can be kept together and that can compete for championships.”