The NBA and the NBPA both put forth their preferred start dates for the 2020-21 NBA season last week. They weren’t in agreement, so the two parties had to extend the date to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement to Nov. 6.
This is the fourth time the date has been extended since the league entered its hiatus. The reason the terms of the CBA have to be re-evaluated is because games were canceled last year. Now, the league and the players are working through new arrangements for another season that will be played during a pandemic, if not in a bubble.
The main point of contention is that the league wants to start on Dec. 22 to preserve Christmas on the NBA calendar, but the players want a longer break until at least MLK Day since the offseason has only lasted for three weeks thus far. The league contends that a season that starts in January can only last 50 games to avoid the NBA Finals overlapping with the Summer Olympics, and also that delaying the start to 2021 would cause a loss of another $500 million to $1 billion in revenue. For reference, the 2019-20 NBA revenue was $8.3 billion, but this year’s projects to be much lower because there likely won’t be fans for the entire season.
Presumably, if the players believed the accuracy of the league’s projections, they would agree to the Dec. 22 tip off. However, their reluctance to adhere to that timeline suggests they think there is some wiggle room in the financials.
Whatever happens, the two groups need to come to an agreement soon. Even if the start date is in January, that still gives the teams less than two months to complete the draft and free agency, and the league still has to figure out a schedule that accounts for the pandemic. That’s a challenging list of undertakings, one that makes the potential of a work stoppage increasingly likely, especially because there isn’t as much money on the table as there usually is.
Hopefully, the NBA and NBPA figure things out. Year two of the Kawhi Leonard clock is ticking.
More news for Monday:
- Ben Cohen and Louise Radnofsky shared the lessons professional sports have taught us about the pandemic.
- The Athletic re-awarded the NBA’s end-of-season honors factoring in bubble games and playoff performance. Here are part 1 and part 2.
- Jovan Buha listed who the Clippers could be pursuing this offseason among wing free agents and also bigs.
- Mandela Namaste found landing spots for some of the lesser-known free agents this offseason.
- Along with Sam Cassell, Doc Rivers has taken Clippers head video coordinator Pete Dominguez with him to Philadelphia. Agua Caliente head coach Brian Adams is also joining Rivers’ 76ers staff. Kendrick Perkins shared some fun Adams anecdotes last year.
- Bill DiFilippo has an interesting piece on why the Sixers have put their faith in Rivers.
- Teams are now being allowed to practice at their facilities with 10 players or less provided each individual submits a negative coronavirus test result prior to the workout.
- Eric Koreen went through potential home sites for the Raptors if Canada doesn’t allow the NBA to travel back and forth between the two countries during the 2020-21 season. One of my favorite expansion cities made the list.
- Rob Mahoney analyzed how a truncated offseason could affect the way teams plan for next season.