The NBA and players have agreed to a September deadline for what modifications will need to be made to the collective bargaining agreement to account for the economic realities of the pandemic.
The starting point will be the inverse of the "cap spike" that the NBA faced in 2016. The players rejected "smoothing" the cap and the league didn't push the issue, which resulted in a $24 million spike.
Instead of a steep drop of the cap, the concept would be to keep the cap artificially high for the 20-21 season, potentially around $109 million and achieve the needed 50-50 split by every player taking an equal percentage paycut.
The league withholds 10 percent of players' salaries in escrow currently and sources say one option is to increase the escrow amount to 20 percent for one season.
"Don't think it's lost on any of us that the Warriors could end up benefiting from the cap spike in 2016 and then cap smoothing if we have it in 2020," one general manager said.
Another league executive said, "I agree this concept makes the most sense in the uncertain times we have. But if [smoothing] is where it goes, it does penalize teams who have done better long-term planning."
"In one case, the owners want a loan from the players. And in the other case, the players want a loan from the owners," one prominent agent said. "It will probably end up somewhere in the middle and it will get done after some yelling and posturing."