Progress has been made in determining the league’s salary cap and free agency date, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told USA Today’s Mark Medina.
Roberts indicated the she’s “closer” to reaching an agreement with the league on those pressing matters.
“We’re probably closer toward resolving that issue,” Roberts said. “Frankly, that is something we can’t hold off for deciding too much longer.”
A report earlier on Tuesday revealed that some team executives are preparing for free agency to begin 48-72 hours after the November 18 draft. Roberts admits that players headed to free agency are eager to determine their futures. However, teams won’t know how much they can spend until the salary cap is determined.
“We have free agents that are losing their minds, as are teams that want to engage and negotiate. So that’s something we don’t have the luxury of delaying a decision on,” Roberts said. “As tough as this is, it’s not life or death. We want to do it right and not do it quickly if it sacrifices doing it right.”
With the loss of revenue due to the pandemic, Roberts acknowledges the players and league have no choice but to find common ground.
“It would be silly to say we’re not possibly going to make a deal,” Roberts said. “Then we would just say hello to the end of professional basketball. I’m not anywhere near there.”
Roberts also addressed a few other topics:
- She’s unsure how the latest proposal to start next season on December 22 will be received by the players, or how it could affect teams that made deep playoff runs in Orlando. She anticipates that players on teams who didn’t participate in the restart would be in favor of getting the season started sooner than later. “There are guys that haven’t played since the suspension of play in March and they may have a different attitude or not,” she said. “Frankly, I’ve spoken to players that did stop playing at or about that time, and they’re banging down the doors to get back to the practice facility.”
- She’s skeptical that teams can allow fans into arenas until a vaccine is widely available. “That’s such a big difference to indoor activity,” she said. “Much of the surge we’re hearing about right now has a lot to do with people returning indoors because of the weather. That concerns me.”
- Another “bubble-like” setting on a limited basis is a possibility but she hopes it isn’t necessary. “I don’t think anyone wants to do that,” she said. “And if we do it, we don’t want to do it for any length of time.”