Friday marks the de facto deadline for the NBA and NBPA to finalize modifications to the current CBA, and, in turn, potentially settle a scheduling plan for the 2020-21 season. Two proposals for the latter are currently on the table: A Dec. 22 start date, proposed by the owners; and a Jan. 18 tip off, which appears to be preferred by the majority of players.
The league says the December date could save more than $500 million in revenue and correct the scheduling course for the 2021-22 season. The players say a two-month turnaround from the NBA Finals is too quick, and that a Martin Luther King Day start is more palatable from a health and wellness perspective.
Now, the league is playing hardball. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Friday morning that the NBA could offer players just a 50-game schedule if the 2020-21 season starts in January, a scenario that would nick player salaries, at the behest of its television partners.
The Dec. 22 proposal, per multiple reports, involves a regular season roughly 72 games in duration, and with the possibility for a play-in tournament.
But perhaps don’t expect a final resolution to come before the weekend hits. In a later tweet, Stein hinted at the possibility of the league extending the renegotiation deadline again, referencing an interview that NBPA vice president Malcom Brogon conducted on ESPN’s The Jump on Thursday.
“We’re either going to start MLK Day (Jan. 18), which I think a lot of the players are leaning towards, or we’re going to start [Dec.] 22nd, Christmas time,” Brogdon told Rachel Nichols on the show. “But the huge difference is revenue. It’s revenue and trying to get each season back on track to start in that September/October range. So I think calculations are being done on both sides on how much revenue would be lost on each potential date and we’ll have to come to some kind of agreement and go from there.”
Asked by Nichols if he thinks the deadline for talks will again be extended, Brogdon said “absolutely.”
“The way talks are going, this is a complicated issue, there’s a lot to balance. A lot of minds working on this collaboratively on both sides. So it’s gonna take some time,” Brogdon told Nichols. “And you know, I don’t think a few weeks, but I think at least a few more days.”