The big meeting between the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the NBA Board of Governors will take place today to try to finally come to an agreement over the schedule that the league will play for the upcoming season.
There has been some controversy and discord among the players over the issue of starting up so soon. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and company want to start the season on December 22, which would only be two short months since finishing a grueling NBA Finals for 2020.
NBA Players May Change Their Stance
In the end, what will probably motivate quite a few of the players to go ahead with the early starting date is the upcoming Olympics. It only comes around every four years and is one of the things that young athletes dream about all their lives. They don’t want to miss the opportunity; it may never come up again.
The NBPA has been meeting all week, taking conference calls and Zoom meetings with their members to discuss the issues at hand including the big one of salary escrow for the players. The pre-Christmas starting date and the 72-game reduced schedule is probably a slam dunk, as there is just too much logic behind it. Otherwise, the Finals would overlap with the Olympics and the logistical hassles, not to mention the TV scheduling and ratings would just not work out well.
NBA Players Want To See The Money
What they will be bargaining about is much more likely will be the issue of salary escrow for the players. The league wants 25%, while the players want 15%. Current speculation is that they will settle for something around 18%, which, with any luck, the players will be able to recoup at some point.
For the players and coaches, the December 22 start date does make for a quick turn around and precious little time to rest up. This is especially true for those teams that participated in the Playoffs and the Finals, the best teams in the NBA.
This year’s NBA Draft is on November 18, and training camp would have to start on December 1 to get ready for the 22nd. Free agency also begins on December 1. There’s a lot of moving around in a short period of time.
So, instead of spending Christmas at home with their families, NBA players and coaches will be on national television doing their thing once again. Of course, that means extra revenues for the league as well. On the table for Silver and the NBA owners is about $500 million to $1 billion in short- and long-term revenues – no wonder they want to start early. A lot of that money depends on the NBA finishing their Finals in mid-July in time for the Summer Olympics.
Time To Start Earning
All of this rescheduling and madness is due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc in the US and around the world. The virus can also be blamed for the significant rises in the escrow withholding on the players’ salaries. Each of the teams in the NBA suffered severe losses in revenue due to the canceled games and the absence of fans at the games that they did play. Ticket sales amount to quite a large portion of the monies earned by the league and by the team owners, who all took a big financial hit because of the virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic could also play hell with the CBA, the collective bargaining agreement, which was not easy to settle on in the first place, and both side are in hopes that they won’t have to start all over on that one. The plan is to spread out the player’s losses over several seasons so that no players has to take such a substantial hit on their salaries in one year.