The WNBA and its players settled on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a deal which will last the next six seasons. Players will see increased salaries. Some will even receive their own hotel rooms on road trips!
Here are the key changes in the WNBA's CBA
- Last year the salary cap was $728,000; in 2008 the hard cap will be $750,000 with owners having the option of spending up to $772,000. The increase comes after the WNBA and ESPN signed a multi-year TV deal for an undisclosed amount that for the first time pays the leagues rights fees.
- The maximum player salary in 2008 goes from $93,000 to $95,000. Any player designated a "core" player, which prevents them from testing the free agent market, receives an additional $2,500 in salary. Players become restricted free agents after four years in the league, unrestricted after six.
- Rookie salaries also increased under the new deal, with the minimum in 2008 at $34,500; it was $32,400 last year. Though rookie contracts will continue to be three years with a team option for a fourth, the raises in years three and four amount to 25% under the new deal. Rookies previously received an 8% raise the last two years.
- Players were concerned with the quality of life on the road. As a result, those with five years' experience will not having to share hotel rooms on the road.
"We made progress and that's what this whole agreement was about — making progress," said Indiana Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, president of the players association. "The league is not really making money at this point, so for us to go in and say we want million dollar contracts would make no sense."
As for the separate hotel rooms on the road?
"That was a big, big deal," Catchings said, laughing. "Something that simple made a big difference. It sounds ridiculously silly, I know it does. It's like why are we even having conversations about this stuff. But it is what it is."
"Some deals players have to wait five years to feel the impact of the negotiations, the impact of this agreement will be felt immediately," said Pam Wheeler, spokeswoman for the WNBA.
Will the WNBA even be around for this year's rookies to reap the benefits, to feel the impact?