NBA, union extend deadline to negotiate season schedule, possibly opt out of CBA – Press Enterprise

NBA, union extend deadline to negotiate season schedule, possibly opt out of CBA – Press Enterprise

For the fourth time, the NBA and National Basketball Players’ Association have extended a deadline for negotiating next season’s calendar and possibly terminating the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the groups announced Friday in a joint news release.

The latest extension lasts another week, until Nov. 6.

Wanting to finish next season ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and to sync back up to a normal calendar in 2021-22, the NBA reportedly has proposed starting next season Dec. 22, playing 72 games and finishing the playoffs in mid-July – before the Summer Games.

The league’s proposed alternative, according to the New York Times, would be playing a 50-game schedule beginning in mid-January.

According to at least veteran Lakers forward Jared Dudley, a 50-game slate of games would get a “hard no” from players.

The popular and typically candid role player tweeted Friday: “Can’t play 50 games .. Thats a hard no for the players! Has to be a min of 72.. the real question is what change in a week? The league kept saying January January.. Everybody knew how big Christmas was and Olympics being late July months ago.. TV just mentioned it now??”

A 50-game season would significantly reduce player salaries next season – by some $1.6 billion, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks – because NBA pay is tied to a regular-season schedule.

But some players have balked at the prospect of lacing up their sneakers so soon. Lakers guard Danny Green, for one, suggested that some of his peers – including LeBron James – might resort to load management in the early part of the season if it tips off in December.

Although 120 of the NBA’s players haven’t played since mid-March and another 90 have been off since mid-August, the Lakers and Heat, who faced each other in the NBA Finals, would get only a 72-day break if the season began Dec. 22.

Also, several important offseason events – including the Nov. 18 draft and the as-yet-undetermined free agency period – that normally occur in a four-month window will have to be crammed into a much shorter period.

But with many of the league’s markets still under strict restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, owners are eager to begin playing and earning revenue, even without fans in the stands.

The Athletic reported that the NBA could lose as much as $500 million by delaying the season’s start date back from December.

Moreover, the NBA was hit by both political issues with China and the pandemic, suffering reported losses of an estimated $1.5 billion of its annual revenue, according to Sports Business Journal. Finishing the season in the bubble in Disney World helped the league recoup some TV losses, though it also reportedly cost between $180-$200 million to pull off.

The lost revenue likely means the league will hold a high percentage of player salaries in escrow throughout the season until the final revenue split is determined at year’s end.

ESPN reported the NBPA has discussed spreading the escrow hit over several years as opposed to contributing as much as 50% of their salaries to escrow this season. Players typically contribute 10% in a normal season with the expectation that some or all of that money could be distributed back.

The 72-game model, ESPN’s Marks tweeted, would lead to players “getting hammered” with escrow in the near future, but the league being able to get finances in order for 2021-22 and going forward.

Kyle Goon contributed to this report.