NBA announces details on 2020-21 season, play-in tournament

Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Alex Kirschenbaum | Last updated 11/17/20

The league has announced details on the 2020-21 NBA season’s schedule, including a confirmation that there will be a play-in tournament between the No. 7-10 seeds in both conferences for the first time.

The NBA has noted that it will release the dates for its individual game schedule in two portions. The league did release its schedule in a matrix grid, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link), though it will not announce the dates of its matchups “around the start of training camp.” The second half of 2020-21 is set to be announced in the midst of the season’s first half.

Still, we now know several of the nuances for the NBA’s 75th season. For the 72 regular-season games in this truncated season, teams will play three games against all teams within their own conference, and two against teams in the other conference.

Here are the set dates for the NBA season as they stand presently:

December 11-19, 2020: Preseason
December 22, 2020 – March 4, 2021: The first half of the NBA’s regular season
March 5-10, 2021: The NBA All-Star break
March 11 – May 16, 2021: The second half of the regular season
May 18-21, 2021: Play-In Tournament
May 22 – July 22, 2021: NBA Playoffs

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

NBPA approves Dec. 22 start for 2020-21 season

Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Luke Adams | Last updated 11/6/20

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 Dec. 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 20190-20 season ran, and Jan. 18 was the other start date being considered. However, the NBA estimated that a pre-Christmas start would save up to $500M 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 Dec. 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 Nov. 18 draft. The transaction freeze is expected to end by Nov. 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 Dec. 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 $109.141M 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 $111.324M 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.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

NBA plans to allow limited fans in arena suites at start of 2020-21 season

By Blake Harper | Last updated 11/5/20

The NBA has made no secret that it wants fans at games next season, and according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the league plans to “have arena suites open to fans at 25-to-50 percent capacity for 2020-21 season tipoff.”

The NBA has somewhat of a unique challenge when it comes to fans, as their indoor arenas likely put fans at higher risk of spreading and contracting COVID than fans in open-air NFL stadiums. But NBA commissioner Adam Silver says that he believes that rapid testing could make having fans a “realistic” possibility.

“As a league, even since mid-March when we shut down, we have been intensively researching and testing all sorts of testing in the public sector and private sector,” Silver said last month. “There have been significant advancements in rapid testing since the onset of COVID-19. We’re fairly optimistic that the market will generate more and better forms of faster testing.”

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.