In 2014, the NBA inked a gargantuan $24-billion TV contract with ESPN/ABC and Turner that extends through the 2024-25 season. The deal left league coffers flush with cash, leading to an explosion in player salaries - especially during free agency in 2015 and 2016.
While most expect a market correction of sorts this summer, that could be nothing compared to what could happen at the end of the current TV deal.
"I'm a lawyer, so I read it," NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told SB Nation's Paul Flannery of the 2014 TV contract. "I remember thinking there's no chance in hell they'll get another deal like this."
Disruption and technology all but ensures that. With less people watching sporting events in traditional manners and broadcasters suffering from cord-cutting, some have even pointed to the NBA contract as ESPN's biggest problem as they continue to lose paid subscribers.
While commissioner Adam Silver has been receptive to the likelihood of greater legalized sports gambling as another revenue stream, Roberts was more blunt.
"I'll say it again: How do you spell gambling?" she said. "That’s a pot of money that's sitting there not being collected by the players or the teams or the league, which I think is a legitimate area of inquiry."
Silver has been more progressive on legalized gambling than many of his other professional sports counterparts, and suggested recently that the NBA take one percent of all legal bets on his league. During his news conference at All-Star weekend, he added that figure could be open to negotiation.
Eighteen states could introduce legislation this year that would regulate sports betting. Only Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon currently allow it.