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Report: NBPA to Vote as Soon as Thursday on 72-Game, Dec. 22 Proposed NBA Start

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIINovember 3, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) and Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo (13) for the tipoff during the first half in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The NBA and its players association will vote on a 72-game season as soon as Thursday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

Charania reported the vote will include a December 22 start date

Sources told Charania that players feel a Dec. 22 start is "inevitable" while the NBPA has advocated for a January 18 start date culminating with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, another tentpole on the NBA schedule along with Christmas. 

The disagreement amounts to the most tenuous issue still up for debate between the two sides. 

Per Charania

"The NBPA has told players on calls, as The Athletic has reported, that the financial ramifications of a December start loom large due to the television networks and league partners wanting a Christmas Day start, the Christmas week generating hundreds of millions of dollars of additional revenue, and the schedule returning to the normal October-June timetable for 2021-22.

"A January start, meanwhile, would interfere with the 2021 Summer Olympics and affect advertisement sales for the networks."

The Athletic also reported fears within the league that a January start could lead TV partners to renegotiate deals with the NBA. 

Under a proposed Dec. 22 start, training camps would open Dec. 1 for a 72-game season with a 25 percent reduction in travel. Charania reported clubs would be required to play 14 back-to-back games with the regular season ending in mid-May followed by a play-in tournament to award the Nos. 7-10 seeds in each conference. The playoffs would then hopefully conclude in late July. 

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A Jan. 18 start would lead to a 60-game schedule with 24 back-to-back contests per club. The regular season wouldn't end until late June with the postseason on track to finish by late August. 

The NBA is also proposing to keep the salary cap flat, much like the NHL announced earlier this year.

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