The National Basketball Players Association is advising free agents to take paychecks over 18 months as lockout protection following the 16-17 season.

The NBA last had a lockout in 2011 and either side can opt out in 2017.

“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 union inserted the 18-month payment rule (36 bi-monthly payments) for the first time in the most recent collective bargaining agreement.