In a call today with the league’s general managers, the NBA said there’s still no agreement in place with the National Basketball Players Association on a timeline for the 2020/21 regular season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
As Wojnarowski details, talks are ongoing between the league and the players’ union, but the two sides face an increasingly short window to negotiate all the necessary details ahead of a potential December 22 start (with a possible December 1 start date for training camps). Besides agreeing on a schedule for the season, the two sides continue to work through a series of financial amendments to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Twitter link).
According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), commissioner Adam Silver told teams on today’s conference call, “We’re running out of time.”
Despite that ominous comment from Silver, and despite the fact that many players reportedly prefer a January 18 start, I certainly wouldn’t rule out a December 22 opening night. The NBA has estimated that postponing the start of the 2020/21 season to mid-January could cost the league upwards of $500MM to $1 billion in revenue next season and beyond. Lost revenue is bad news for the players as well as the league, so the NBPA has plenty of incentive to figure out how to make the earlier start date work.
The NBA and NBPA pushed back the CBA termination deadline for a fourth time last week, setting a deadline of this Friday, November 6. If the two sides can agree to most of the major CBA details by that date, a pre-Christmas start still seems realistic. If that deadline has to be postponed yet again, that may not bode well for the December 22 target date.