Home Sports Headlines NBA, players union agree to extend deadline for CBA negotiations until Nov. 6, per report

NBA, players union agree to extend deadline for CBA negotiations until Nov. 6, per report

by Ryan

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to extend the deadline for CBA negotiations until Nov. 6, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This is the fourth time that the two sides have agreed to postpone the deadline and give themselves more time for discussion. 

In a statement released to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBPA wrote, “The NBPA is actively engaged in discussions with our players in an effort to be able to reach agreements with our League and team partners to address these signifiant and complex issues. Each of us has a stake in doing what’s fair, what’s best for our business and what respects the rights and interests of all stakeholders. We are confident we will get there.”

The biggest issue at the moment is when the 2020-21 season will start. While the league prefers a pre-Christmas opening night, the players are pushing to begin on Jan. 18 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For weeks, it seemed momentum was heading towards the later date, especially considering last season didn’t conclude until the middle of October. However, everything changed last week when the reports surfaced that the league was far along on plans for a 72-game season that would tip-off a few days before Christmas. 

Behind these disagreements, of course, is money. The league leaked reports that starting before Christmas would be a difference of $500 million in revenue, but the players are still not sold, with union director Michele Roberts telling The Athletic that the “overwhelming response” to starting in December has been negative. There’s also been a report from Marc Stein of the New York Times, that if the season does start in January, it would only be 50 games, thus reducing the amount of money players would earn. 

Also on the financial front, a big topic of conversation has been the salary cap and luxury tax levels. Without fans in arenas, the league’s income has been severely reduced, which means players are set to earn less money. In a story last week, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst reported that, “Agents are bracing for the possibility of up to 40% of the escrow being withheld from players.” The escrow is the amount of money withheld from the players in case the league does not meet revenue projections. Usually they get that money back, but it’s unlikely that would happen this season. 

This graphic from ESPN’s The Jump does a good job showing the difference in salaries if there is a 40% escrow withholding. 

But while money is the big thing, it’s not the only thing. Starting before Christmas would mean cutting the official offseason to a dramatic degree. The 2020 NBA Draft is set for Nov. 18, with free agency starting sometime shortly thereafter. With camps opening up in early December, that would give front offices and free agents an extremely short amount of time to figure out deals. 

In addition, the earlier start date would mean teams that went on deep playoff runs wouldn’t get their usual amount of time off. Danny Green of the defending champion Lakers hinted at some of his veteran teammates simply not being ready by Dec. 22, which throws another wrench into the plans. Would the league want to force an early start if it means a bunch of stars sitting out more games than usual early in the season?

All told, there are some serious issues for the league and the players to figure out. With such significant financial incentives to start before Christmas, it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s what ends up happening, even if everyone isn’t thrilled about it. But considering how much things have changed in the past few weeks, it’s probably wise to just wait and see what they announce as their final decision. 

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