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Clippings: Is the NBA headed towards a lockout?

The league has extended the deadline to decide.

NBA: NOV 07 Trail Blazers at Clippers Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

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