The NBA is still figuring out a path toward resumption of play. There are still a lot of hurdles to clear, and very few answers on if the season can resume safely or not. Nothing is off the table, whether that be hosting all 30 teams at a central location to play out the remainder of the season, or canceling the season altogether.
The league recently took a step in the right direction as several teams reopened its practice facilities on May 8, while teams have reportedly been given the green light to test any players or staff members who enter facilities so long as they get authorization from local health officials. That’s no indication that games are returning any time soon. However, the league and the National Basketball Players Association gave themselves more runway on Monday to figure that out.
The two sides came to an agreement to extend the deadline to terminate the current Collective Bargaining Agreement through September, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. When the league went on hiatus March 11, the NBA had the authority to trigger the force majeure event clause, which would allow teams to withhold a percentage of players salaries if the remainder of the season is canceled due to natural disasters, wars or a pandemic like COVID-19.
Extending the deadline date for the 60-day window into September will allow both sides to figure out how to financially move forward in the wake of this highly unusual and unfortunate circumstance. Wojnarowski reports that there’s optimism on both sides to come to an agreement on how to handle the 2020-21 salary cap, and luxury tax thresholds.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver held a virtual meeting with players last Friday to address any concerns and answer any questions regarding the state of the league. Among the many topics that were discussed was how much the coronavirus would impact future earnings for the league, as well as what salary caps will look like for every team. Silver was reportedly very honest in his response:
“This CBA was not built for an extended pandemic,” Silver said on Friday’s call. “There’s not a mechanism in it that works to properly accept a cap when you’ve got so much uncertainty; when we’d be going in next season saying, ‘Well, our revenue could be $10 billion or it could be $6 billion. Or maybe it could be less.'”
This is a truly unprecedented time for the NBA, and while Silver and other executives are doing as much as possible to answer questions, there’s just not enough information for them to operate with to figure out any of the big picture issues, like when the league will resume and what the future cap will look like. However, extending the decision to terminate the CBA does give the players and the league a lot more time to figure out both the short- and long-term future of the NBA.