The NBA’s board of governors and its Players Association are expected to approve an agreement in the coming days that would set the start date for the new season at December 22nd with a shortened 72-game schedule instead of the usual 82, sources told ESPN.
The two sides held separate meetings on Thursday where votes are expected to have taken place that will decide whether or not to move forward with this proposed plan for the upcoming 2020-2021 season, a campaign at the end of which the Los Angeles Lakers (+333 odds on Betway) are expected to repeat as champs by most oddsmakers.
The NBPA, for its part, began discussing the details and financials of the agreements with each team’s players on Wednesday, and after those calls were all dealt with and everyone was informed of the situation, the team representatives congregated to take the final vote on the agreement on Thursday evening.
The proposed deal also includes a November 18th date for the draft, and, more importantly, the league will lift its moratorium once an agreement is made, allowing for the league to reopen for business and for teams to go out and sign free agents and make trades. Training camps would be tentatively scheduled to start on December 1st as well.
Last year the NBA lost about $1.5 billion in basketball-related income, and they’re expecting somewhere around 40% of that income to be lost again this year if there are no gate receipts, sources told ESPN.
To offset those hits for the players, the league and the players association have been negotiating to find a way to spread those huge losses over several years instead of allowing the players to be hit with that enormous financial blow all at once.
The early start date was apparently huge for the league, as they reportedly expect a season that includes Christmas Day matchups, 72 games, and a finish before the Summer Olympics to bring in approximately $500 million to $1 billion in revenue that would’ve been lost with a later start date.
Despite the promise of that added revenue, the state that America’s in does not lend much hope to either owners or players that they will have any fans in their stands when they get the season rolling, and possibly not even until deep into the campaign.