When the global pandemic hit, the world of sports was shaken up. To the credit of NBA commissioner Adam Silver alongside a team of personnel and players, the NBA was able to successfully complete its season without a single COVID-19 case after a strict set of rules and testing practices were enforced in the basketball bubble.
If the world were not in the midst of a global pandemic the NBA season would have already begun by now. Unfortunately, the virus is still a public health concern so precautions and preparations must be taken. Recently the NBPA issued the following statement regarding the start of the next season:
“The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced that they have reached agreement in principle on the start of the 2020-21 season, as well as adjustments to certain provisions of the current collective bargaining agreement impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement is subject to a vote by the league’s Board of Governors.
The parties have agreed in principle to the following:
The 2020-21 season will begin on Tuesday, December 22.
The 2020-21 season will feature each team playing a 72-game schedule. The full regular-season and broadcast schedules will be released at a future date. A new system will be used to ensure the parties’ agreed-upon split of basketball-related income (BRI). In the event player compensation were to exceed the players’ designated share in any season, necessary salary reductions beyond the standard 10 percent escrow would be spread across that season and potentially the following two seasons, subject to a maximum salary reduction in any season of 20 percent. For the 2020-21 season, the Salary Cap will be $109.140 million and the Tax Level will be $132.627 million. In subsequent seasons of the CBA, the Salary Cap and Tax Level will increase by a minimum of three percent and a maximum of 10 percent over the prior season. Teams’ Tax payments will be reduced in proportion to any BRI decreases.
Free agent negotiations will begin on November 20 at 6 p.m. ET, with signings starting at 12:01 p.m. ET on November 22.”
The start date and schedule would mean that there would be 10 less games to be played this season as well as marking this as the shortest offseason for the players. If players agree to the December 22 start date it would mean a 71-day offseason. That is quite short.
LeBron James, who is fresh off a NBA Championship Title with the Lakers, took to his IG to let his feelings about a December 22nd start date known. James, who is normally a man of many words expressed exactly how he felt with a single emoji: a face palm. After 17 seasons playing at the level of intensity and dominance that he has, it’s no wonder he is not pleased with the rush back to the court. Bodies need rest and who knows if 71 days will be enough.
From a business perspective the powers that be want players to make it enough. However, James was one of the players that voiced how difficult being in the bubble was. Not only was it taxing on the body but being away from family and the comforts of home was taxing on the mind as well.
With that said it looks like at some point basketball will be back once more.