The NBA said Wednesday that the Players Association won't agree to smoothing in the increased revenues from the national TV deals, which will create a significant spike in the salary cap that owners hoped to avoid.
The league's new contracts with ESPN and TNT begin in 2016-17 and will be worth more than $2.6 billion annually. Because the salary cap is tied to revenues, that will cause the cap to soar to perhaps $90 million in the first season.
To prevent a historic jump of $20 million or more and the spending spree that would follow, the league has sought to set cap figures in the first few years of the media deals that would lead to gradual increases, but the union rejected that approach, NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said in a statement.
The union has opposed anything that could limit players' earning power.
Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling says he could have gotten more than the record $2 billion paid for the team last year, but the circumstances of the sale "markedly reduced" the price.
The comment was in an amended complaint that Sterling's lawyers filed last week in his lawsuit against the NBA over the sale, the Los Angeles Times reported. The suit seeks at least $600 million in damages.
The complaint also added three defendants: Sterling's wife, Rochelle, and two doctors who determined that he had symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.