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NBA owners formally approve plans for next season

Kurt Helin and Corey Robinson react to the official announcement that the 2020-21 NBA season will begin on Dec. 22 and share what they're looking forward to in the upcoming campaign.

The final vote was a formality. League officials and Commissioner Adam Silver (who works for the owners) hammered out amendments to the CBA with the players union on the structure of the next NBA season. The player reps voted to approve it Tuesday, but the owners still had to as well.

That happened Tuesday, paving the way for the next NBA season to start Dec. 22, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The vote was reportedly unanimous.

That sets up this timeline for the next NBA season:

• Nov. 16, the moratorium on trades is lifted (and player opt-in/opt-out as well). This is not yet official but will be.
• Nov. 18, the 2020 NBA Draft.
• Nov. 20, 6 p.m. Eastern, free agency opens.
• Dec. 1, training camps open
• Dec. 22, the NBA season tips off.

That will be a 72-game season with teams playing games in their home arenas, but before few, if any fans. The league will set up the schedule to reduce travel, with teams playing multiple times in a row. (For example, when the Lakers fly up to Portland, they will play the Trail Blazers two or three games in a row, rather than travel to the city multiple times.)

Details on the league’s coronavirus protocols and testing for the season are not yet official.

The salary cap will remain flat with last season at $109.1 million. The same with the luxury tax at $132.6 million, however, teams paying the tax will see their bill reduced by the same percentage the league falls short of its revenue goals for next season. Meaning if league revenue is 25% lower than expected next season, tax-paying teams will get a bill reduced by 25%. The cap will go up between 3% and 10% each of the next two seasons, depending upon league revenue.

The amount of money taken from player paychecks to go into escrow to balance the league’s 50/50 split of Basketball Related Income (BRI) will remain at 10% this season but could jump as high as 20% the next two seasons (depending on revenue).

Some players were not happy with the fast turnaround between seasons, and some trainers questioned if that is smart for player health, but the potential loss of up to $1 billion in revenue this season and into future seasons made sure both sides got the deal done. Players accepted that.

Now the owners have as well.