NBA 72-GAME SEASON TIPS DEC. 22, FREE AGENCY AFTER NOV. 18 DRAFT

By Teddy Brenner

The National Basketball Players Association board of representatives have approved a Dec. 22 start to the NBA season that includes a reduced 72-game schedule.

The NBPA’s board of player representatives voted to approve the pre-Christmas start on a conference call last night with NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, ESPN is reporting,

The NBA and NBPA are planning to discuss the opening of free agency as quickly as possible after the Nov. 18 NBA draft to accommodate player movement with such a short window to the opening of training camps on Dec. 1.

The league believes that a Dec. 22 start that includes Christmas Day games on television and allows for a 72-game schedule that finishes before the Summer Olympics in July is worth between $500 million and $1 billion in short- and long-term revenues to the league and the players, sources said.

The NBA has pushed to today a deadline that keeps open the option of terminating the collective bargaining agreement, which would essentially blow up the league’s financial structure that allows for a 50-50 split of basketball-related income (BRI) under the provisions of the CBA. Because of the pandemic’s triggering a force majeure clause in the CBA, both sides have the option of serving notice of 45 days on terminating the agreement, sources said.

The NBA and NBPA split the BRI, and the league recently told teams that 40% of that revenue could be lost without gate receipts this season, sources said. The NBA’s basketball-related income was down $1.5 billion last season, according to data provided to teams and obtained by ESPN.

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