The NBA and NBPA have again agreed to push back the 60-day window that allows both sides the right to terminate or make changes to the current collective bargaining agreement, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The new deadline is set for Oct. 15. It’s the second time the 60-day window has been extended since the season was interrupted back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to move the deadline back allows the league to finish out the remainder of the 2020 playoffs without concern over the CBA, and buys them more time to see where the virus is in October in preparation for the 2020-21 season. 

The two sides came to an original agreement back in May to extend the deadline to Sept. 10, but with that date creeping up the league and player’s association pushed it back further.

“Extending is an easy call,” said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts via ESPN. “If everyone continues to be well-intentioned on how we deal with the economic effects of this virus, we’ll just make the appropriate adjustments, and there won’t be a need to terminate the CBA at all.”

The league is still unsure of when or how the 2020-21 season will start. Originally, the hope was that the next season could start on Dec. 1. However, while leagues like the MLB and NFL are having issues with trying to complete a season without a bubble in place, the reality of having a season safely in arenas across the country while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on in the U.S. is difficult to picture. The league is already thinking of pushing back the dates for the NBA Draft (Oct. 16) and free agency (Oct. 18), and are looking at dates later than Dec. 1 for the start of the 2020-21 season. 

Anywhere from late December to March have been discussed to start next season, per Wojnarowski, as the board of governors hope to wait out long enough until fans can be welcomed safely back into arenas. The league is already losing a significant amount of revenue from resuming the current season without fans in attendance. However, if next season also has to be played in empty arenas, the NBA and NBPA are “optimistic” that changes can be made — salary cap and luxury tax thresholds — to the CBA to account for the loss in gate revenue, before they reach the decision to terminate the current CBA. 

Approximately 40 percent of the league’s revenue is reliant upon fans buying tickets, concessions sales and other game-night expenses during the season. Without that, trying to project any future salary cap is difficult. Smaller market teams also rely on revenue sharing from ticket sales in places like New York and Los Angeles. If fans are unable to attend games next season, Wojnarowski reports they could lose over $20 million in revenue sharing next season alone. With smaller market teams left floundering in the loss of revenue, it will put them at a greater competitive disadvantage going forward.

The projected 2020-21 salary cap is currently set at $115 million, with a luxury tax threshold of $139 million. Due to the pandemic, teams are concerned that the cap could fall by as much as $25 million to $30 million, per Wojnarowski. Without discussing changes to the CBA, 25 of 30 teams could be forced into luxury tax payments, which would have a ripple effect on free agency.

If the current CBA is terminated prior to the start of the 2020-21 season, it could result in a lengthy stoppage in play until the two sides can come to an agreement on a new one. While the current bubble campus in Orlando has been working perfectly to finish out the playoffs, there’s still many questions surrounding what’s next for the league. However, extending the decision to terminate the CBA does give the players and the league more time to figure out both the short- and long-term future of the NBA.

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