Extending CBA Opt Out Lets NBA Deal With Pandemic Realities
The NBA and NBPA extended the 60-day window that preserves the league’s right to terminate the current CBA until the end of September, as the coronavirus pandemic has created a “number of issues” that need to be addressed, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The current deal expires after the ’22-23 season. The extra time allows the two sides to “really go through and have a better sense of what the financial projections look like.” That includes both the salary cap and luxury tax for the ’20-21 season. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver last Friday told players the current CBA “certainly was not designed to endure a pandemic.” Wojnarowksi: “Here's what the union doesn't want. They don't want free agency where there's no salary cap space at all. The teams don't want a salary cap that drops and would put as many as 25 of their teams into luxury tax, so they may have to artificially negotiate some numbers that might play out over a few years of adjusting for this big economic hit this season.” The NBA could complete the ’19-20 season and possibly the ’20-21 campaign without fans present, and 40% of the league’s revenue “is built around game night gate receipts, fans buying tickets, concessions, parking, merchandise.” Wojnarowski: “That is a significant part of the revenue split between the players and the league, and the idea of the league not having fans … changes the dynamic of having a 50/50 revenue split” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/11).
NEEDING TO WORK TOGETHER: ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted the NBA “cannot afford to have a labor issue in addition to a virus issue,” which is why Silver “has worked day-by-day, hand-in-hand with the union.” Windhorst: “He ultimately is going to need them as much as he needs anybody else, and that’s why you’re going to see these two sides continue to try to work together in the coming months” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/11).
FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE? In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw writes there is “much work to be done” for the NBA to complete this season. Cowlishaw: “I hope that Silver and reasonable minds on the players’ side can roll up their sleeves, reach a solution that seems impractical right now and get back to work. I just don’t expect it to happen until the tipoff for the 2020-21 season” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/12). Shaquille O’Neal is among those to say the NBA should not complete the ’19-20 campaign, but ESPN’s Michael Wilbon disagrees with that sentiment, noting “there's money at stake” for the players (“PTI,” ESPN, 5/11).