The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association continue to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, with a deadline set for Friday at midnight Eastern Time, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.
The March 31 deadline has already been extended twice after originally being set for December 15. That deadline is for either the league or the NBPA to opt out of the current CBA on June 30.
Commissioner Adam Silver says he’s hopeful about reaching a new CBA in the next few days, but the NBA plans to exercise its option to opt out if there is no deal in place when the deadline arrives.
“I certainly can foresee one getting done and I hope we do get one done,” Silver said, per Reynolds. “It’s just because, honestly, I’m only one side of the negotiation, it’s difficult for me to place odds on whether or not that’s going to happen.”
In a statement, NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said the union has no intention of opting out if the deadline passes with no deal.
“The March 31st deadline is an important benchmark, and we are doing everything in our power to reach an agreement with the league,” Tremaglio said. “If we don’t have a deal and the league decides to opt out, it will be disappointing considering all the work both sides have put into the negotiations, and the fair nature of our requests. As far as our fans are concerned, it will be business as usual. Games will continue uninterrupted.”
Silver said he thought negotiations would come down to the wire, as both sides “tend to hold their best positions until the very end.” He described the discussions as “positive,” though he cautioned there was still work to be done, according to Reynolds.
“I think for both sides in various categories we acknowledge we’ve come closer together,” Silver said. “There still is a gap between where we feel we need to be in order to get a deal done. I’d say throughout the discussions have had a very positive tenor and continued the strong sense of partnership that we have with our players and the players association.”
It’s worth noting that if the league follows through and does opt out, the two sides would still have until June 30 to negotiate a new CBA and prevent a possible lockout. The current CBA was originally set to expire after the 2023/24 season, but an opt-out would change that timeline.
According to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, Silver said part of the reason the NBA is trying to get a new CBA in place sooner rather than later is because the media landscape has changed drastically since 2017, when the current CBA was put in place. As Vorkunov writes, Diamond Sports Group filed for bankruptcy earlier this month and it owns Bally Sports Regional Networks, which works with 16 different teams to distribute games.
However, Diamond informed the NBA it would be able to continue its payments for the rest of the season and keep games on air.