While there was some player pushback about the start of the 2020-21 season actually happening in 2020 just two months after the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign, the financial realities pointed to them ultimately agreeing to the quick turnaround. Sure enough, NBPA reps voted Thursday to approve the NBA’s proposal of a 72-game season beginning on Dec. 22. The season is slated to end before the Olympics in July.
Here’s the brief statement:
NBPA STATEMENT ON THE 2020-2021 NBA SEASON START DATE AND SCHEDULE— NBPA (@TheNBPA) November 6, 2020
: https://t.co/BmNtnYsm63 pic.twitter.com/AvCaVAOWK7
As mentioned, there are still financial details to figure out as part of an amended collective bargaining agreement. With no fans or limited fans in the stadiums due to the ongoing pandemic, the league will still be looking at major revenue losses, so there are negotiations involving the amount of the players’ salaries held in escrow and spreading out their losses over multiple seasons.
Starting in December and getting in Christmas Day games as opposed to waiting and starting on MLK Day (Jan. 18) and playing a shorter season helps bring in more money. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports this plan “is worth between $500 million and $1 billion in short- and long-term revenues to the league and the players.”
Despite the revenue losses, it’s looking like the salary cap will stay flat for this offseason, with potential for growth in future seasons:
Sources The NBA and NBPA are discussing a minimum of 2 percent annual growth in the salary cap and luxury tax for the duration of the collective bargaining agreement. Cap is expected to be $109M this offseason.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 6, 2020
With the season now set to start on Dec. 22 and training camps expected to open on Dec. 1, the NBA will have to rush through its offseason. The 2020 NBA Draft is set to take place on Nov. 18, and then free agency will open shortly after that. Trades will be allowed once a formal agreement between the NBA and NBPA is reached, which is expected next week. This certainly makes for a crazy month ahead of the new season.
The Bulls haven’t played a game since March, so they’re surely anxious to get underway with this new regime. It also looks like they’ll have an increased chance of making the playoffs, with talk of a play-in tournament that features seeds 7-10 in both conferences.
With this fresh Bulls start upon us, I’m certainly excited to see what they have in store for us.