The league’s plan is to streamline free agency, trade and draft periods into one, while also transforming the draft night into a drama filled spectacular. With a meeting scheduled for next Thursday, the AFL will be working on the implementation of the trading of picks to be implemented for the coming draft to begin with.
With widespread approval league wide, it appears that this will only be phase one of the AFL’s plan. Phase two appears to be the introduction of live player trades throughout the draft period.
Similar to what they have in the NBA, the introduction of this will be a lengthy process with it tipped to cause issues with the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA).
The AFLPA are believed to want shorter contracts and a reduction in years before becoming a free agent before the AFL introduce this overhaul.
Players are also to be wanting the addition of the right to have a no-trade clause in their contract, one similar to what Lebron James has and Carmelo Anthony had when he was at the New York Knicks.
With an evolution awaiting the AFL, they must negotiate and mediate with the AFLPA in order to enable the AFL to move into the new world of fluid player movement.
An alteration in the new bargaining agreement is also another road block in negotiations, with a new agreement only being agreed mid-way through last season.
A mid-season trade period, will also be on the list for discussion next Thursday, with AFL’s new head of football, Steve Hocking, giving insight on the difficulties in implementing this.
“I think it is a staged approach that we need to work through and the reason why I say that, and I’m a little cautious about it, is the potential anxiety that may mean for players,” Hocking told SEN.
“If I’m a fringe player and all of a sudden I’m getting to June and I may be traded out and picked up by another club, some people will say you’re getting an opportunity to play senior football, but to spend a number of months right on the cusp – am I in or out? – is a really anxious place for players to live in.”
Although endorsed by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, a lack of club support for the mid season trade period saw the move to introduce it blocked.
The introduction of contracts similar to the 10-day contracts offered in the NBA, is another path that the AFL will most likely head down, with shorter term contracts potentially curing the frustration from clubs that can’t replace players mid-season that retire.
Next Thursday’s meeting will be the first this year, with the meeting featuring club representatives including Geelong’s Stephen Wells, Carlton’s Stephen Silvagni, Fremantle’s Brad Lloyd, Hawthorn’s Graham Wright and new Western Bulldogs CEO Ameet Bains.
The AFL representatives include chief legal counsel Andrew Dillon, Hocking, integrity chief Ken Wood and player movement guru Josh Vanderloo.