NBA, NBPA Reportedly Extend Right to Terminate CBA Through Oct. 15

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attends an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The NBA and NBPA agreed to extend both sides' right to terminate the collective bargaining agreement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the league and union will now have until Oct. 15 to negotiate changes to the CBA for the 2020-21 season. An agreement struck in May originally gave both sides until Sept. 10. 

"Extending is an easy call," NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN. "If everyone continues to be well-intentioned on how we deal with the economic effects of this virus, we'll just make the appropriate adjustments, and there won't be a need to terminate the CBA at all."

The NBA is expected to move back the Oct. 16 draft and Oct. 18 beginning of free agency to give teams and players a better understanding of what to expect from the 2020-21 season. Commissioner Adam Silver said the league's tentative start date of Dec. 1 for next season will likely not happen.

"I'd say Dec. 1, now that we're working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me," Silver told ESPN's Rachel Nichols on Thursday.

"I think our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. ... So my sense is, in working with the players' association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that's what we would be targeting."

Wojnarowski's report says the league hopes to begin sometime in December or January but discussed pushing the season as far back as March. 

The NBA and NBPA have several important financial matters to discuss related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each season's salary cap is set based an expected revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. Silver has said about 40 percent of the league's revenue is generated by fan attendance to games. The NBA will make less for 2019-20 than they expected because of the 15 or so games each team failed to play to conclude the regular season along with the additional revenue generated through the playoffs.

The NBA and NBPA will be tasked with figuring out how to handle the salary cap for 2020-21 based mostly on an uncertain future. It's possible they will negotiate a cap smoothing to avoid teams paying astronomical luxury tax bills, which would also help pending free agents. It's almost certain the cap will decrease or plateau after years of significant gains.

If the league and union are unable to come to terms, it's possible the NBA tears up the CBA and forces a complete renegotiation of the sport's financial structure.