NBA Has Significant Hurdles To Clear Before Next Season
The NBA "must clear three massive hurdles to begin next season: The first is currently being navigated: how to safely play in a world with coronavirus," and the next two are "equally complex: brokering a deal between owners and players on how to financially operate, and how 30 teams facing different market conditions will share money to keep the entire league afloat," according to Windhorst & Bontemps of ESPN.com. An Eastern Conference team president said, "The reality is nobody is probably going to operate in the black next season. The only question is how much each of us are going to lose." The NBA and players have "agreed to a September deadline for what modifications will need to be made to the labor agreement." But the "grousing by some as teams around the league judge who might benefit from a gap agreement with the union portends an additional fight that might manifest this fall -- a battle between owners over revenue sharing." Another Eastern Conference team president said, "The Lakers and the Knicks may not have any fans, suites or anything. The revenue to be shared may not be there. There could be some fighting." Sources said that in a recent meeting with team presidents, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum shared that the league's current plan is "to allow local governments to regulate crowds at sporting events." That opens the possibility that revenue "could be disproportionately influenced by the policy views of politicians" (ESPN.com, 7/10).
EXPLORING ALL OPTIONS: MORNING CONSULT's Alex Silverman reported the NBA's Global Innovation Group is "considering several scenarios for next season." An internal planning document outlines "four scheduling scenarios" the league is considering for next season, including one in which it "would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule." Under the March-October scenario, the league "would execute a rolling reschedule release as opposed to releasing the entire schedule before the season starts as it would under normal circumstances." It also would "aim to hold an All-Star Game at some point during the season." The three other scenarios "all call for the season to begin in December and run through July 2021 and vary based on the state of the pandemic" (MORNINGCONSULT.com, 7/10).
DRESS FOR SUCCESS: ESPN.com's Nick DePaula cited sources as saying that a new entry protocol finalized at the end of last week "calls for players to 'be in uniform and warm-ups when they arrive'" to games in Orlando. Players will "get dressed in full uniform in their respective hotel rooms at the trio of designated resorts at Walt Disney World, then board a team bus for an expected 15-minute drive to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and HP Field House's primary game court" (ESPN.com, 7/12).
STAYING IN BOUNDS: In Toronto, Mike Ganter noted the Raptors as of 11:00am ET on Saturday were "free to roam the NBA campus at the Sports Complex in Disney World, but the early indications are the group is sticking pretty close to home for now." Raptors G Terence Davis said, "Getting out on campus, it's not really ideal right now." Raptors coach Nick Nurse is "taking a similar cautious approach." Nurse said, "I have not been out to look around, I did take the outside path down to the meal room last night, but that was just right along the same hallway, that was as far as I ventured outside, I'm not planning on doing much looking around, to be honest with you" (TORONTO SUN, 7/13).