Collective Bargaining Agreement

Latest On NBA’s Updated Dates, Deadlines, Details

Virtually all of the NBA’s usual annual deadlines will have to be adjusted for the 2020/21 league year. In addition to the handful of new dates that we passed along this morning, many more adjustments have been reported over the course of the day. Here are several of the key ones:

  • The deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to players who are eligible for restricted free agency will be November 19, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).
  • Virtually every traded player exception that had initially been set to expire in July will now expire on November 23 or November 24, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. That includes the Warriors‘ $17.2MM TPE, which expires on Nov. 23, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).
  • The deadline to waive a player and stretch his 2020/21 salary will be December 9, per Pincus (Twitter link). After that date (which is normally August 31), players who are waived can still have guaranteed salaries in 2021/22 and beyond stretched, but their ’20/21 cap figures will remain unchanged.
  • The deadline for teams to exercise third- and fourth-year 2021/22 options for players on rookie scale contracts will be December 29, tweets Pincus. This deadline usually falls at the end of October.
  • Free agents signed this offseason can’t be traded before February 6, while players who meet certain criteria (re-signed with their own over-the-cap team via Bird or Early Bird rights and got a raise of at least 20%) can’t be traded until March 3, per Pincus (Twitter link). These dates are typically December 15 and January 15.
  • February 23 will be the first day that teams can sign players to 10-day contracts, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • The leaguewide salary guarantee date – normally January 10 – will be February 27 this season, tweets Pincus. A team that wants to avoid being on the hook for a guarantee will have to cut the player by February 24 so he clears waivers before the deadline.
  • Players will have to be waived on or before April 9 (not March 1) in order to retain playoff eligibility for a new team, tweets Pincus.
  • The 2020/21 league year will conclude on August 1 (instead of June 30), tweets Pincus. The 2021/22 league year will begin on August 2.

Here are a few more details on newly-announced adjustments for the 2020/21 season:

  • For initial waiver claim priority, the NBA will use the standings as of March 11, 2020, tweets Pincus. That means if a player hits waivers next week, the Warriors will have top claiming priority and the Bucks will be last on the list.
  • Instead of the usual 177 days, the NBA’s 2020/21 season will be 146 days, tweets Pincus. That means, for instance, that a player who signs a 10-day contract will receive 10/146ths of the minimum salary instead of 10/177ths.
  • Two-way players won’t be limited to 45 days on their NBA teams’ rosters this season, but they won’t be able to be activated for more than 50 games. They’ll receive salaries worth $449,155, per Pincus (Twitter link).

Trade Moratorium To Be Lifted At Noon ET Monday

The NBA is a little more than 24 hours away from allowing teams to start making trades, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Sources tell Woj that the moratorium will end at 12:00 pm eastern time on Monday, giving teams a small window to complete deals before Wednesday night’s draft.

The league has also established some important dates for the upcoming season, Wojnarowski adds, with opening night set for December 22 as expected (Twitter link). An All-Star break will take place from March 5-10, although no game will be played.

The regular season is projected to end between May 17 and 21 with a play-in tournament to determine seeds seven through 10. The conference semifinals will begin June 7, with the conference finals starting June 22 and the NBA Finals set for July 8-22. The trade deadline hasn’t been determined yet, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

The play-in tournament must be approved by the Board of Governors, but a source tells Wojnarowski that’s considered a formality (Twitter link). As with the series in Orlando between the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies, the No. 7 and 8 seeds will just need one win to advance, while the ninth and 10th seeds would have to win twice. May 17-21 are the tentative dates for the tournament.

As expected, this year’s salary cap ($109.1MM) and luxury tax figures ($132.6MM) will be maintained for next season (Twitter link). According to Woj’s sources, the early cap and tax projections for future seasons are $112.4MM and $136.6MM for 2021/22, $115.7MM and $140MM for 2022/23 and $119.2MM and $144.9MM for 2023/24 (Twitter link).

In addition, the league and its players union have reached a deal that either side can terminate the Collective Bargaining Agreement after next season or the 2021/22 season, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Both sides already had a mutual option to terminate the CBA after the 2022/23 season.

December 21 will be the last day for players to sign super-max and rookie scale extensions, Marks tweets. That deadline is especially significant in Milwaukee, where the Bucks hope to reach a long-term deal with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Most player and team option decisions throughout the league will have to be made by 5:00 pm ET Thursday, a source tells Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). A prominent exception appears to be Anthony Davis of the Lakers, who may have to decide on his $28.75MM player option by Monday.

Team Owners Vote To Approve New CBA

This afternoon, NBA team owners unanimously voted to ratify the amended Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed upon late last night by the league and the NBPA, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The NBA’s Board of Governors, which is comprised of the 30 NBA team owners and their reps plus league commissioner Adam Silver, held a conference call this afternoon, and the agreement will now allow the 2020/21 season to kick off on December 22.

As we detailed earlier today, the updated CBA will contain the same $109,140,000 salary cap and $132,627,000 luxury tax line as the 2019/20 season. The ’20/21 season will last for 72 games, and free agency will kick off next Friday, November 20.

Currently, there is still a moratorium on trades, but that is expected to be lifted two or three days ahead of the November 18 draft. Luxury tax penalties will be reduced for taxpaying teams if the league’s basketball related income declines.

NBA, NBPA Agree To Amended CBA; Free Agency To Begin Nov. 20

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached an agreement on an amended Collective Bargaining Agreement in advance of the 2020/21 league year, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps. The league and union issued a press release confirming the news.

As a result of the agreement, free agency will begin on 6:00 pm eastern time on Friday, November 20, less than 48 hours after the November 18 draft. After a brief moratorium, signings will officially be permitted starting on Sunday, November 22 at 12:01 pm.

Here are several of the other highlights of the new deal:

  • As expected, the regular season will begin on December 22 and there will be a 72-game schedule. The full schedule will be released at a later date.
  • The salary cap will once again be $109,140,000 and the luxury tax line will be $132,627,000. Those are the same numbers as in 2019/20. As a result, figures like minimum and maximum salaries and mid-level/bi-annual amounts will remain the same.
  • The NBA will reduce the luxury tax bill of taxpaying teams at the end of 2020/21 season by the percentage amount that the league’s Basketball Related Income falls short of its initial projections.  For instance, a 30% decline in BRI would result in a 30% reduction of a taxpayer’s bill — say, from $10MM to $7MM. This should benefit projected taxpayers such as the Warriors, Nets, Celtics, and Sixers, among others.
  • The cap will increase by a minimum of 3% per year and a maximum of 10% per year through the rest of the current CBA. For 2021/22, that means the cap will be at least $112,414,200, and could be as high as $120,054,000.
  • The standard 10% of player salaries will continue to be held in escrow for the time being. Any necessary salary reductions will be spread out over next season and the following two seasons, but players can never have more than 20% of their salaries withheld in a single season.

The NBA’s transaction freeze remains in place for now, but the expectation is that it will be lifted early next week, perhaps two or three days before the November 18 draft, according to Bontemps and Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Once that freeze ends, teams will be permitted to formally finalize trades and other roster moves.

The league is also expected to soon announce new dates and deadlines for player/team option decisions, certain salary guarantees, qualifying offer decisions, and the expiration of trade exceptions.

Deadline For Terminating CBA Pushed To Monday

The NBA and the NBPA have once again pushed back the deadline for either side to serve notice on terminating the Collective Bargaining Agreement, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the deadline will be moved from today to Monday, November 9.

This the fifth time the two sides have agreed to extend the deadline, including the third time in the last three weeks. The league and union continue to work toward finalizing modifications to the CBA, including establishing new free agency dates and deadlines and determining how much player salary will be held in escrow for the next couple seasons. Those discussions will likely continue this weekend.

The NBA and NBPA cleared a key hurdle late last night, when the players’ union voted to approve the December 22 start date for the 2020/21 season proposed by the league. With a pre-Christmas start and a 72-game season tentatively agreed upon, the two sides can focus on figuring out the outstanding logistical and financial issues, as well as the health and safety protocols for the coming season.

If the league and the union are still negotiating on those issues by the end of the day on Monday, it’s a safe bet that the CBA termination deadline will be extended by a few more days. However, there’s an expectation that an agreement will be in place before the end of next week, with the November 18 draft fast approaching.

NBPA Approves December 22 Start For 2020/21 Season

The National Basketball Players Association board of representatives voted on Thursday night in a favor of an NBA proposal to start the 2020/21 regular season on December 22 and play a 72-game schedule, according to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

A number of players had been advocating for a later opening night, given how long the 2019/20 season ran, and January 18 was the other start date being considered. However, the NBA estimated that a pre-Christmas start would save up to $500MM and $1 billion in revenue, and a mid-January start would have resulted in a shorter season (around 60 games). As a result, the players ultimately came around on the league’s plan.

The result of the NBPA’s vote doesn’t make the December 22 start date official. As the union indicated in a statement confirming the news, there are still additional financial and logistical details to be negotiated. However, both sides are confident that agreements can be reached on those issues.

As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, determining what portion of player salaries will be placed into escrow is one important issue the NBA and NBPA need to resolve. According to Charania, the two sides are discussing an escrow in the 17-18% range for player salaries over the next two years, in the hopes that that amount can be reduced to the usual 10% by 2022/23. That would help cushion the blow of the lost revenues for players, spreading the hit over multiple seasons rather than having them bear the brunt of it in ’20/21.

Negotiations between the NBA and NBPA on that subject and other financial issues are expected to extend into next week, sources tell Wojnarowski. Once the two sides reach a formal agreement, the league can lift its moratorium on transactions, allowing teams to conduct trades and other roster moves before the November 18 draft. The transaction freeze is expected to end by November 16, per Charania.

The league and the union hope to open free agency as quickly as possible after the draft, since there will be a very short window before teams have to open training camps on December 1, says Wojnarowski. The start date for free agency still isn’t official, but seems likely to fall within two or three days of the draft.

The salary cap for the 2020/21 season is expected to remain unchanged, with the NBA and NBPA artificially setting at $109.141MM despite projected revenue losses. The league and the union are discussing the possibility of agreeing to have the cap increase by 2% annually for the remainder of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, per Charania (Twitter link). That would mean a cap of $111.324MM for the ’21/22 campaign.

Meanwhile, the league and the union will also have to agree to a set of safety and health protocols as they look to play the 2020/21 season in teams’ respective home arenas rather than in a single-site bubble, even as the number of coronavirus cases around the U.S. continues to rise. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook were among the players who said on Thursday’s call that they want to view the official health and safety measures before fully committing to the season, sources tell Charania.

According to a Thursday report, there’s hope that – at least in some markets – fans will be able to attend games in person with limited capacities and strict safety regulations in place. If that’s possible, it would help offset some of the league’s projected revenue losses.

The NBA will have to decide soon where the Raptors will be playing in ’20/21, since there are still significant restrictions in place on cross-border travel between the U.S. and Canada. Newark has been one of several cities discussed as a possibility.

While the league hasn’t yet finalized a schedule for 2020/21, Charania previously reported that the expectation is the season will run from December 22 through mid-May, with the NBA Finals finishing around July 22, just in time for the start of the Tokyo Olympics.

The league is expected to reduce teams’ travel by 25% and there will likely be a six-day All-Star break in early March, though it’s not clear if an All-Star Game will actually be played. The NBA is also hoping to conduct a play-in tournament for the final two seeds in each conference.

NBA, NBPA Moving Toward Agreement On December 22 Start

The NBA’s Board of Governors and the National Basketball Players Association will hold separate calls on Thursday that are expected to culminate in an agreement on a December 22 start date for the 2020/21 regular season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic previously reported, the NBPA is expected to vote before the end of the week on the league’s December 22 proposal. Wojnarowski and Lowe say that vote will likely take place on Thursday night and that everything is progressing toward a deal between the NBA and the players’ union.

Per Woj and Lowe, the union is holding team conference calls prior to Thursday night – including several today – to provide details on the plan for 2020/21, including how the salary escrow will work going forward.

As Charania reported on Wednesday and as ESPN’s duo confirms, rather than holding a significant percentage (25-40%) of players’ salaries in escrow for ’20/21, the modified escrow figure is expected to be around 18% and will be applied to multiple seasons, smoothing out the losses for players.

Since the NBA and its players split revenue roughly 50/50 and the league is projecting a significant revenue decline for ’20/21, increasing the salary escrow is necessary to account for the losses from the players’ side.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), an 18% escrow for next season would withhold about $720MM from the players, not counting the reduced pay based on a 72-game schedule instead of an 82-game slate. The league and the union are still negotiating that 18% figure though, Woj and Lowe note.

Once the NBA and NBPA reach an agreement on the salary cap, escrow, season start date, and all the other major aspects of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that need to be tweaked, the transaction moratorium can be lifted and dates for free agency can officially be set.

As Charania detailed on Wednesday, a 72-game season that starts on December 22 is expected to end around mid-May, with the Finals finishing around July 22, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. The NBA is planning for a 25% reduction in travel, with a six-day All-Star break in early March. Training camps would open on or around December 1.

A number of players had been advocating for a later opening night, given how long the 2019/20 season ran, and January 18 was the other start date being considered. However, as Lakers forward Jared Dudley explained today during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Frank Isola (audio link), the NBA’s proposal of a December 22 start date and 72-game season is the only option that makes financial sense for players.

“We’ll vote on it, but to be honest with you, there’s no real vote. No one’s playing 55 games. We’ve got to play 72,” Dudley said. “It’s the money thing.”

The NBA has estimated that starting the season before Christmas will save upwards of $500MM to $1 billion in future revenue, per ESPN and other outlets.

NBA, NBPA Face Increasingly Short Window To Negotiate December 22 Start

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).

[RELATED: NBA Targeting December 22 Start, 72-Game Season]

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.

Deadline For Terminating CBA Extended Once Again

8:46pm: An NBPA statement issued to Charania (Twitter link) strikes an optimistic tone regarding negotiations: “Each of us has a stake in doing what’s fair, what’s best for our business and what respects the rights and interests of all stakeholders. We are confident we will get there.”

Meanwhile, Wojnarowski reports in his full ESPN.com story that the NBA fears delaying opening night to mid-January could result in potential losses of $500MM to $1 billion next season and beyond.

8:01pm: The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are once again extending the deadline for either side to serve notice on terminating the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new date is now next Friday, November 6, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

This the fourth time the two sides have agreed to extend the deadline, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. They are trying to hammer out modifications on the CBA, including next season’s salary cap and luxury tax thresholds. Discussions will continue this weekend, Wojnarowski adds.

The decision has been confirmed in an NBA Communications press release. If either side provides notice to terminate by November 6, the CBA will terminate on December 14 unless the parties agree otherwise.

The start of next season remains a point of contention, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The league is pushing for a pre-Christmas start, which would allow its TV partners to broadcast Christmas Day games. The NBPA still prefers a mid-January start date, most likely the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The league reportedly considered countering with a reduced 50-game season and significant reductions in salary if the NBPA insisted on the January start. However, a 50-game proposal hasn’t been put forth at this point, Wojnarowski reports in another tweet. Playing fewer games in the event of a January start hasn’t been raised but a 72-game schedule has been proposed with the December 22 start.

The league’s Board of Governors last week recommended the December start in part so that the 2021/22 season could begin at its normal starting point in late October.

Escrow withholding on player salaries due to reduced revenues without fans in the stands has also been a sticking point, Wojnarowski adds.

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.”