NBA, NBPA Reportedly Extend Right to Terminate CBA Through Oct. 30

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2020

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during an interview before Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The NBA and NBPA agreed to extend the right to terminate the league's collective bargaining agreement until Oct. 30.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news Thursday, noting the sides continue discussing modifications to the CBA amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The talks have been productive, and there is "optimism" a deal could be in place by the Nov. 18 draft.

The NBA and union have largely worked side by side to navigate the pandemic and racial injustice this year. The league's successful three-month bubble allowed a champion to be crowned while keeping players safe and letting the league and its participants highlight social justice issues during a period of national upheaval.

Despite the success of finishing last season, navigating the waters of the sport's future is murkier. The league and players have to find common ground on the basics, like how many games are played and when the season will start. It's been the union's and league's hope that no bubble will be necessary and a limited number of fans can attend games.

However, those are points of negotiation—as is the league's finances. The NBA did not hit its profit expectations for the 2019-20 season and is almost certain to not hit them again in 2020-21. Commissioner Adam Silver has said about 40 percent of the league's revenue comes from fans. Eliminating their attendance entirely or greatly limiting it will have a massive financial impact that will be passed on to players.

Perhaps most urgently for both sides is setting a cap for the 2020-21 season. Cap smoothing (offsetting the losses over multiple seasons) is an avenue both sides should explore. It would stop players who enter free agency this offseason from getting the short end of the financial stick and allow owners to potentially avoid extreme luxury-tax payments.

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While players previously rejected the idea of cap smoothing in 2015—leading to the biggest free-agency bonanza in league history in 2016—there are benefits to both sides reaching an agreement this time.