NBA and players agree to December start and CBA amendment
North American basketball’s NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, the body which represents the league’s players, have come to an agreement in principle on a start date for the 2020-21 season, as well as an amended collective bargaining agreement.
For the upcoming campaign, which is set to start on 22 December, the salary cap has been set at $109.1 million, the same figure as last season.
As part of the deal, the NBA’s free agency period will begin on 20 November, just two days after the 2020 draft.
With the NBA projecting losses of up to $4 billion if spectators are not allowed back into arenas for the new season, the CBA and players’ salaries would have dropped next year under normal circumstances, but the league and the union have agreed not to make any alterations due to the unforeseen impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint statement, the NBA and NBPA said: “In subsequent seasons of the CBA, the salary cap and tax level will increase by a minimum of 3 per cent and a maximum of 10 per cent over the prior season.
“A new system will be used to ensure the parties’ agreed-upon split of basketball-related income.
“In the event player compensation were to exceed players’ designated share in any season, necessary salary reductions beyond the standard 10 per cent escrow would be spread across that season and potentially the following two seasons, subject to a maximum salary reduction in any season of 20 per cent.”
The league’s financial structure allows for a 50-50 split of basketball related income under the provisions of the CBA, but the league has reportedly told teams 40 per cent of that revenue could be lost without spectators.
Basketball-related income was down $1.5 billion last season, according to data provided by the league to the teams.
Last week, despite some initial opposition, the NBPA voted to approve a plan for a 22 December start to the new season, with a reduced 72-game schedule, a move which is now just pending approval from the league’s board members.
The campaign is starting later than usual, with fewer games, after the 2019-20 campaign was delayed by the pandemic.
In a normal season, each NBA team plays 82 games in the regular season, from October to April, with the playoffs following from April to June.
When it resumed, with a reduced schedule, the 2019-20 season concluded with playoffs at a bubble site at Walt Disney World's Wide World of Sports in Florida, with the Los Angeles Lakers running out winners.
With the key issue of free agency now resolved, training camps will begin on 1 December, before the new campaign tips off three days before Christmas.