The NBA and NBPA agreed earlier this month to push back the deadline that would allow either side to terminate the Collective Bargaining Agreement to October 30. However, with that deadline just two days away, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts tells Shams Charania of The Athletic that the players’ union expects negotiations to continue beyond this Friday.
“The union and the players are analyzing all of the information and will not be rushed,” Roberts said. “We have requested and are receiving data from the parties involved and will work on a counter-proposal as expeditiously as possible. I have absolutely no reason to believe that we will have a decision by Friday. I cannot and will not view Friday as a drop dead date.
“While we are all anxious to resolve these and other substantive issues outstanding between the parties, we plan to proceed at a pace that provides our players ample opportunity to determine the best way to proceed.”
The players, led by the NBPA, are currently reviewing the league’s proposal to begin the 2020/21 season on December 22. The plan is expected to require teams to begin training camps on December 1, which is just over a month away. The NBA Finals came to an end just two weeks ago, and Roberts suggested in her comments to The Athletic that the players are feeling rushed by the process.
“Given all that has to be resolved between now and a December 22 date, factoring that there will be financial risks by a later start date, it defies common sense that it can all be done in time,” Roberts said. “Our players deserve the right to have some runway so that they can plan for a start that soon. The overwhelming response from the players that I have received to this proposal has been negative.”
According to Charania, the NBA told teams on Wednesday that talks between the league and the players have been “productive” so far, and Roberts tells The Athletic that she believes the two sides are close to an agreement on salary cap figures for the 2020/21 season. The cap and tax are expected to remain right around $109MM and $132MM for next season, Charania reports.
However, the league and the union still need to bridge the gaps on issues such as how much player salary will be held in escrow in ’20/21, as well as the proposed December 22 start date, sources tell The Athletic.
According to Charania, commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged on Wednesday in a conversation with team presidents and general managers that the proposed turnaround is quicker than the NBA anticipated or planned, but said that the league’s TV partners have been pushing for a return to the NBA’s usual October-to-June calendar as soon as possible.
“We’re being strongly encouraged by our partners to work closely to a traditional season,” Silver said, per Charania. “It’s almost disconcerting we’re deep into planning for next season so soon. But the sooner we can get back, the better.”
Charania adds that if the players ultimately accept the NBA’s proposed timeline and report to camps at the start of December, the NBA hopes to conduct three-to-four preseason games to allow teams to “reset their arenas” for the regular season. A number of days at the start of camps would also be set aside for coronavirus testing before team activities are permitted, says Charania.