NBA May Only Offer 50-Game Season If Players Want January 18 Start

As ESPN reported earlier this week and as NBPA vice president Malcolm Brogdon confirmed during an appearance on The Jump on Thursday, the expectation is that the league’s 2020/21 season will start on either December 22, the date proposed by the NBA, or January 18, the date that a number of players reportedly prefer.

However, if the players insist on starting the season on Martin Luther King Day rather than before Christmas, the NBA may only offer a 50-game season, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). The league’s December 22 plan would result in a 72-game season.

As Stein explains – and as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press confirms (via Twitter) – the NBA’s television partners are pushing for the earlier start date and/or a shortened schedule because they don’t want the season to clash with the Tokyo Olympics in July and August. Those TV partners presumably also wouldn’t be enthusiastic about the NBA postseason running into September again and competing with the NFL.

Completing the 2020/21 season in July would allow the NBA to get back to its usual October-to-June calendar for the ’21/22 campaign. However, a 50-game season would result in a substantial pay reduction for players, since their earnings are tied to league revenue, as cap expert Albert Nahmad observes (via Twitter). As such, the NBPA is unlikely to be on board with such a plan.

It sounds as if the NBA and NBPA still have some work to do to bridge the gap on the season’s start date and length. And while the two sides had previously set October 30 (today) as the deadline to negotiate changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Brogdon indicated during his appearance on The Jump yesterday that he expects that deadline to be pushed back for a fourth time. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts conveyed a similar sentiment earlier in the week.

If the league and players’ union move forward with the NBA’s December 22 plan, training camps would begin on or around December 1, so the two sides will need to reach some sort of agreement sooner rather than later. According to Stein (via Twitter), a resolution is expected by next week, since all involved parties are “antsy for clarity.”

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30 thoughts on “NBA May Only Offer 50-Game Season If Players Want January 18 Start

  1. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    Wait… the league is claiming they can play 22 extra games in 28 extra days???

      • mcmillankmm

        Seems like they could do better than 50 games, but we all know the regular season doesn’t mean much anyway so 50 games works just fine

    • Otogar

      Probably they want each team to play the same number of games against every Conference and Division rival (so that e.g. Lakers playing Clippers three times and Sacramento four times is not an option). That reduce the possibilities for the total number of games. Also, it is likely that the league chose a deliberately low number of games for the Martin Luther King scenario so that players are not prone to accept it (as they would loose a significant bit of their salary).

  2. 50 games is just perfect and also they should limit more games back to back as well.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      Oh, glad you feel that way. Can you draft up a memo explaining to the players association about their 25% pay cut? I’ll wait…

  3. 50 games is just perfect and also they should limit more games back to back as

    • hiflew

      These guys are supposed to be the best athletes in the world, so why do we act like they are 55 year old men that shouldn’t go to the gym 2 days in a row?

    • Little_Dunker_45

      Yes, wanting to get paid the full amount that was contractually promised to you is soooooooooo selfish. I’m willing to bet even role players are selfish too by your advanced metrics. I don’t know you personally so I can’t call you an idiot but that’s sure an idiodic thing to say.

      • Curtisrowe

        Yeah, and it isn’t just “stars.” A short season would affect all sorts of team employees as well.

      • jump shot

        When he said selfish I’m assuming he meant stars (and all players, really) would still want their full salaries while playing only 50 games.
        It’s been documented for a few years that many players want a reduction in regular season games. None of them mentioned making less money tho. Since we were all kids we’ve known the nba plays 82 games. Now these guys wanna play less games but still make more money. That is, somewhat, selfish.
        Just my humble opinion – before somebody bashes my comment. ; )

        • The Human Rain Delay

          Not to mention salaries have skyrocketed the last decade jump shot- Yes these guys should never cry poor….even the players in the EARLY 2000s were getting nowhere near these guys pay level

  4. Sillivan

    Gate income goes down
    Tax up
    If your contract is 3 million next year
    You make 1 million cash

  5. 4thinfsgt

    All of a sudden, the NBA is considering this. I am guessing it’s because the dude who said, “I ain’t playing in no empty arena,” made the start date an issue.

  6. DynamiteAdams

    I like a 50-60 game season. The games mean more and the players are fresher. I know more games=more money but the product of entertaining basketball games is so much better in moderation.

      • Little_Dunker_45

        Why stop there? Let’s just play game 7 of the finals — one game per year. And it will be nobody versus nobody because everyone in the NBA is a choker or a whiner or they celebrate too much or they are too handsome or they stand for the anthem or they sit for the anthem or something else that someone else isn’t happy about. What a Great idea!

      • Sillivan

        10 games season is the worst idea ever
        It’s worse than Horford contract

  7. Strike Four

    Stupid and greedy, start in January and play all 82 – who cares if the season goes into August? We just went into October.

    • hiflew

      Well, the TV people that allow players and owners to pass around stupid money care and that should be all that matters to them. Everyone considers owners the bosses and players the workers, but that’s not true at all. Players are the workers, but owners are really only the middle managers. TV networks are the true owners of the NBA and really all sports. Because without them, the players will lose about 75-85% of their salaries from now on.

  8. Appalachian_Outlaw

    If they were concerned about their health I’d say hey, cool, start in January. I doubt January is any different than December, though. This seems more like LeBron crying he’s tired and getting a few players to follow suit. Start the season in December. If guys want to show up Jan 18, let them; and let them forfeit those game checks, too.

  9. specialfriedrice

    Sorry boys but the season will start on December 22nd…don’t like it…not a problem…take your prorated pay and watch as some kids with more drive and ambition then you take your job.

    Wake up NBPA your only moves are straight from the unionist handbook…delay and demand…you want your boys to be paid…so then you can syphon a % of their money…well…then let their cash cow that is the NBA get back on track so you can all cash those fat cheques.

  10. davethemailman

    Starting in January would give them more rest this off season, which is fair, and a shortened season would put them back on track for the following year. So they would only be taking less money for one more year before things went back to normal.

  11. Sebch

    Lazzy millionnaires, Lakers will only played 30 games in 9 months … Let’s start without those asteriks champs and give them tons of back to back just before next playoffs LeBron wants to play as less as possible to be in shape for back to back and then claim to be GOAT … no damn respect shut up and dribble

  12. Reflect

    Start the season ASAP but the players who had deep playoff runs are allowed to take a month off and start late. This doesn’t have to be a hard line in the sand. Most teams are happy to start soon so let those teams play.

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