Warriors' season might not start Dec. 22 with players opposed


If the NBA has its way, next season will consist of 72 games and start on Dec. 22. That is, if the league can get the Players Association on board.

And based on what NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts told The Athletic on Wednesday, it appears that will take more convincing.

"Given all that has to be resolved between now and a Dec. 22 date, factoring that there will be financial risks by a later start date, it defies common sense that it can all be done in time,” Roberts told The Athletic. “Our players deserve the right to have some runway so that they can plan for a start that soon. The overwhelming response from the players that I have received to this proposal has been negative."

One of the main reasons the league wants to begin on Dec. 22 is to be able to return to a traditional October start for the following season. But after many players just returned from an extended stay in the Orlando bubble, there is resistance on the NBPA's part to starting back up again so soon.

However, as The Athletic's Shams Charania wrote, any delay could result in further revenue losses.

"Given the league’s goal to finish the 2020-21 season in June -- July being the latest should the season necessitate a January start -- the players face a potential financial loss by delaying from the Christmas Day week plan."

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The deadline for either the NBA or Players Association to serve notice to terminate the current collective bargaining agreement is Friday, but Roberts does not expect to have a decision on the proposed Dec. 22 start date by then.

"The union and the players are analyzing all of the information and will not be rushed,” Roberts said. “We have requested and are receiving data from the parties involved and will work on a counterproposal as expeditiously as possible. I have absolutely no reason to believe that we will have a decision by Friday. I cannot and will not view Friday as a drop-dead date."

Both sides have the ability to extend negotiations beyond the Friday deadline. Considering the important issues that still apparently need to be ironed out, that would seem to be a likely outcome.

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