Adam Silver gave the players a subtle warning on Sunday that opting out of the current labor agreement in 2017 would open up the possibility of the owners trying to go for their preferred changes to system issues.
"There will be things that we're going to bring back to the table, too," said Silver.
Silver was presumably referring to a hard cap, salary rollbacks and perhaps an end to guaranteed contracts.
Michele Roberts has strongly implied, more than once, that the players do intend to opt out.
"And if they do, we'll deal with that," Silver said on NBA Sunday Tip. "There were a lot of things we left on the table [in 2011]. We went into collective bargaining seeking—I don't want to get into it now—but a number of things that we didn't accomplish. And we compromised. And they compromised as well.
"If there's a feeling that we should reopen the collective bargaining agreement…hopefully, just as we have in the past, we'll work through all those issues and there won't be any disruptions in the season."
If either side wants to opt out, they have to give notice by Dec. 15, 2016.
The NBA has never been in a better position financially with their nine-year, $24 billion television deal kicking in.
Under terms of the current labor deal, players are entitled to 51 percent of the new revenue.