The NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have agreed to extend the deadline for either side to terminate the league’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to Oct. 15, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
ESPN Sources: For the second time, NBA and NBPA agree to push back 60-day window that preserves right of each side to terminate the Collective Bargaining Agreement in wake of the pandemic. The new negotiating deadline on modications to the CBA for 2020-2021 is October 15.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2020
Woj further cited a desire to finish the season without interruption and hope that the league’s big-picture financial picture will be clearer by October as motivation for this decision.
This agreement guarantees an uninterrupted completion of the NBA playoffs and an opportunity for the league and union to make more informed decisions based upon on the pandemic’s course and the league’s revenue challenges for the 2020-2021 season and beyond. https://t.co/tv4BNecseB— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2020
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN that she is optimistic both sides will be able to re-negotiate the CBA before the deadline, preventing outright termination of the deal.
NBPA executive director @MRobertsNBPA to ESPN: "Extending is an easy call. 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."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2020
The two parties previously extended the CBA termination window in May. Central to the ongoing conversations and negotiations will be the likelihood of fans safely attending games during the 2021 calendar year. NBA commissioner Adam Stern told ESPN the league will consider pushing back the start date to next season if it means filling seats in home markets:
“I’d say Dec. 1, now that we’re working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me. I think our number one goal is to get fans back in our arenas. [...]
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.”
Teams make roughly $1.2 million per home game during the regular season, a significant portion of the league’s revenue.
What about the Blazers?
The end result of the CBA re-negotiation will be of particular interest to Trail Blazers fans — with several players locked in to high-salaried long-term contracts the franchise can ill afford an unexpected dip in the cap without some kind of compensatory adjustments.
Translated to real numbers, the Blazers have about $100 million in guaranteed salary for nine players next season. The salary cap this season is about $109 million. If the cap stays flat for next season — a best case scenario predicated on the league believing revenue will rebound over the next year or two — general manager Neil Olshey will be able to fill out the roster with various salary cap exceptions (e.g. the mid-level exception). Restocking Portland’s bench under the pre-existing model, however, will become incrementally more difficult as the cap decreases.
From the players’ perspectives, two Blazers are currently caught in a lurch until the cap situation for next season becomes clearer. Zach Collins is eligible to sign an extension on his rookie scale contract and Hassan Whiteside will be a free agent. It’s nearly impossible to predict how either of those negotiations will play out until the NBA and NBPA finish re-negotiationg the CBA this fall.