The Toronto Raptors recently visited Nashville and are considering calling the city home next season because of Canadian travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a source familiar with the situation told The Tennessean. The source requested anonymity because there has been no public announcement.
A decision about where the Raptors will play could come within the next week or two, though the source said the preferred priority is keeping the team in Toronto. The Raptors began discussions with Bridgestone about three weeks ago. The arena is well equipped for basketball and hosts the SEC basketball tournament.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among NBPA player reps on tonight’s call, there was some curiosity about starting free agency prior to Nov. 18 Draft, sources tell ESPN. For a few reasons, it isn’t possible under these circumstances. However, it is an idea that's had some support among teams in ordinary times.
Adrian Wojnarowski: First, there won't be finalized deal between NBA/NBPA until just prior to draft. Teams would be managing FA and draft simultaneously. Also, switching order starts new salary cap year earlier, offering some teams edge in draft-related trades that otherwise wouldn't be possible.
Tim Reynolds: To be clear, this vote tonight doesn't mean Opening Night is absolutely Dec. 22. But it does clearly suggest that the NBPA is on board, which obviously helps matters a great deal. Still have to work out those little things: Money, escrow, COVID protocols, etc.
The NBA will play a 72-game season, with training camps opening on Dec. 1, the regular season ending on May 16 and the Finals finishing no later than July 22, sources said. The NBA will play in markets, reduce their travel by 25 percent, and significantly reduce cross-country travel especially early in the season, sources said.
Several star players on Thursday night’s call, such as NBPA President Chris Paul and Rockets All-Star Russell Westbrook, stated that they want to view the official health and safety measures prior to fully committing to the season, sources said. Westbrook cited the importance of players’ health and safety upon any season opening, sources said.
The N.B.A.’s goal is to complete the 2020-21 season before the Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled from July 23 to Aug. 8 in 2021. That would allow the league to avoid direct competition with the Olympics and set up the 2021-22 season to return to the N.B.A.’s usual October-through-June pattern. The plan is strongly preferred by the league’s primary media partners, Disney and Turner, following a summer and fall of dismal N.B.A. ratings in a crowded sports landscape, according to a person briefed on the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Besides, some league officials would say, eight teams haven’t played since March and more than half the league was done playing by Sept. 1. “Good to see the light right now,” Hawks guard Trae Young, one of the players who hasn’t played since March, tweeted.
Shams Charania: Sources The NBA and NBPA are discussing a minimum of 2 percent annual growth in the salary cap and luxury tax for the duration of the collective bargaining agreement. Cap is expected to be $109M this offseason.
Frank Madden: For some context, if cap goes up only 2% for 21/22 then it would put a Giannis supermax value at around $226m/5 years (same if he signs this offseason or next). Other teams could offer a projected $144/4 years if he hit FA in ‘21. A year ago the projections were $254m/$161m.
Shams Charania: The National Basketball Players Association has voted to tentatively approve NBA’s proposal for the 2020-21 campaign starting on Dec. 22 and playing 72-game season, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. NBA set to tip off Christmas week.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBPA player rep vote has completed, approving a December 22 start/72-game regular season, source tells ESPN. Next up: NBA/NBPA finishes financial terms on amended CBA, which will take into next week. Expect trade moratorium to be lifted shortly prior to Nov. 18 Draft.
Tim Reynolds: There's no agreement on the money - yet - but the NBA's player representatives have decided to back the notion of a Dec. 22 start to the season, AP is told. Talks between the union and league will continue on matters like escrow/COVID testing/etc.
Marc Stein: NBA team player representatives remain on course to huddle virtually later tonight to vote on the league's proposal to start the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22 ... with training camps opening Dec. 1 Two sources briefed on the latest describe union approval of that plan a "formality"
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA aims to have arena suites open to fans at 25-to-50 percent capacity for 2020-21 season tipoff, based on local regulations. An amount of fans — under protocols such as masks, social distancing and coronavirus testing — is a goal to start season.
Shams Charania: The coronavirus pandemic has made life fluid, and a clinical vaccine will play a role in this too. NBA's goal is some amount of fans to start the season, depending on each market's restrictions. Courtside fans, for instance, would be about 10-to-12 feet away, sources said.
Omari Sanfoka II: Asked Weaver about the season potentially starting in December: "We can play tomorrow, we can play Christmas, whenever … we're chomping at the bit to get back going. Whenever they tell us we can get back out there, we'll be ready to go."
The initially proposed January start died because neither the players nor the board of governors were comfortable sacrificing the additional four weeks of revenue. The Warriors are good with this. Really good. They’ve already had eight months to read or work out, to binge on their favorite TV shows or connect with family and friends, so they’ve always liked the December start.
“I've taken advantage of the time, really, but I'm also ready to go,” coach Steve Kerr said over the weekend. “I can't wait to start practice. We all kind of feel that way. When I say, ‘we all,’ I mean ‘organizationally.’ I'm sure the Lakers and the Heat aren't really ready to start camp yet. But we are ... we’re ready to roll.”
Keith Smith: One item that hasn't been talked about much: What happens with the NBA G-League in 2020-21? Multiple teams have that same question. One team told me they were told "We'll get the NBA season figured out and then we'll get into the G-League. It's on a long list of to-do items."
Bobby Marks: Here is what an 18% escrow would look like for some of the top earners: Steph Curry ➡️$43M to $35.3M 🔽$7.4M LeBron James ➡️$39.2M to $32.2M 🔽$7.0M Kawhi Leonard ➡️$34.4M to $28.2M 🔽$6.2M Total player escrow projects from $720M to $800M
The National Basketball Players Association is planning to take a formal vote of the team player representatives late Thursday, and sources told ESPN everything is progressing toward an agreement on a pre-Christmas start to the season. The NBPA is holding team conference calls this week, including several on Wednesday, that detail discussions with the league on a salary escrow for players in the range of 18% for the next two years, sources told ESPN.
Sources say the team representatives are expected to approve the agreement The league and players are still negotiating that escrow figure, sources said.
The NBA has pushed back a deadline to Friday that keeps open the option of terminating the collective bargaining agreement, which would essentially blow up the league's financial structure that allows for a 50/50 split of basketball-related income under the provisions of the CBA. Because of the pandemic triggering a force majeure clause in the CBA, both sides have the option of serving notice of 45 days on terminating the agreement, sources said.
Tim Reynolds: Very small sample size, but three NBA players reached by AP this afternoon said they believe opening night for the 2020-21 season will be Dec. 22 -- as has been suggested now for the last several days. None of the three expressed a problem with that.
Bobby Marks: Escrow withholding does not impact a cap charge and the amount sent out in a trade (or how it impacts the luxury tax, cap space or hard cap). A $20M player is still $20M.
SiriusXM NBA Radio: "We'll most likely be on [December] 22nd" Lakers Free Agent Forward @JaredDudley619 tells @TheFrankIsola that he expects the season to begin before Christmas. https://t.co/szn3lcYSqO
The National Basketball Players Association is planning to hold a vote on Thursday night or Friday morning regarding the Dec. 22 start format to the 2020-21 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told The Athletic.
The NBPA, led by executive director Michele Roberts, started formal conference calls with players from all 30 teams this week. Players have been holding calls with the NBPA beginning Monday and will go through Thursday morning. Players coming out of several meetings believe a Dec. 22 start is inevitable, sources said.
Shams Charania: NBA/NBPA are deciding between two ‘20-21 scenarios: - Dec. 22: 72 games, regular season ends mid-May, Finals finish around July 22, Christmas revenue - Jan. 18: 60 games, regular season ends in June, Finals end around Aug. 21
The NBA is opening lucrative new revenue streams to help teams offset steep losses from last season and limit financial hits should games next season be played in front of a limited number of fans or in empty arenas. Teams now will be able to sell the previously off-limit baseline apron areas near the baskets as new high-profile sponsorship inventory. The baseline apron hard signage will be allowed only on local regional sports network broadcasts; no decision has been made on extending the signage to national broadcasts.
In addition, the league will allow teams to sell three global sponsorships as part of its International Team Marketing Program that previously was limited to two global deals. The international marketing program is entering the second year of a three-year pilot program.
Other new revenue ideas also are under consideration. The NBA recently allowed teams to sell large belly patches on practice jerseys and the league is discussing ways to allow more patch advertising on apparel, including putting ads on shooting shirts as well as allowing a second jersey patch on game jerseys.
Bill Self knows having an NBA team in Kansas City might not be the best thing for nearby college programs — at least from a ticket-sales perspective. And yet, the KU basketball coach seems fully on board with the idea of the Toronto Raptors potentially putting down temporary roots in Kansas City, if indeed they needed to relocate.
Last week, Self, entering his 18th year as KU's coach, was asked what he thought of that initiative. "I would say this place is obviously a hotbed for basketball," Self responded. "This place obviously loves their ball. And you go back historically to all the NCAA tournaments and the NCAA being here that was held in Municipal Auditorium and those sorts of things. I think that would be a big sell because we’ve shown that we love ball historically."
And Self also believes a successful run as a temporary home could put Kansas City on the shortlist to get an NBA team. "I saw firsthand, and we all did, what happened with the Hornets," Self said. "When Katrina hit New Orleans and they relocated to Oklahoma City, you saw how that market rallied around that team to make them basically an automatic to get a franchise if anything else was going to transpire. And then of course the Sonics moved there. I can see [KC] doing the same thing. I think people would rally around it."
On a conference call with the league's general managers on Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the top team basketball executives that "time is running out" on the possibility of starting the 2020-21 season prior to Christmas Day and potentially salvaging hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, sources told ESPN.
Discussions with the National Basketball Players Association continued over the weekend and into Monday, but the union's reluctance to agree to a Dec. 22 start and a reduced 72-game regular season has left the league fearful it has only several days left before opening training camps around Dec. 1 for a pre-Christmas tip is no longer a realistic possibility, sources said.
Optimism still exists that an agreement can be reached on the pre-Christmas start, but it has been tempered in recent days, sources said. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and union leadership have been talking directly with players about starting the season so quickly after a mid-October finish to the Finals in the Orlando, Florida, bubble, and so far have expressed a preference for a mid-January start to the season. The NBA believes there is somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion in revenue losses next season and beyond by failing to start the season in December, sources said.
The NBA has pushed back to Friday a deadline that keeps open the option of terminating the collective bargaining agreement, which would essentially blow up the league's financial structure that allows for a 50-50 split of basketball related income (BRI) under the provisions of the CBA. Because of the coronavirus pandemic triggering a force majeure clause in the CBA, both sides have the option of serving notice of 45 days on terminating the agreement, sources said.
And without assurances that the pandemic will allow for fans in arenas this season -- and projections that their absence could cost the league more than $4 billion in lost revenue -- the NBA fears delaying the start of the 2020-21 season until January could cost the league an additional $500 million to $1 billion in revenue losses next season and beyond, sources said.
The NBA and NBPA are still at odds over a start date to the season, with the union resisting thus far a league plan to open a shortened 72-game regular season on Dec. 22 and complete the NBA Finals before the Summer Olympics in July, sources said. The union has countered with a mid-January start, but wants to continue discussing the issue with its players, sources said. There is a level of impatience growing within the NBA, which wants to get a deal executed and get plans for a new season moving quickly, sources said.
Significant gaps remain between the NBA and NBPA on how the league will account for reductions in players' salaries in light of the significant financial losses for 2019-20 and steeper projections of losses next year, sources said. The NBA and NBPA split the basketball related income (BRI), and the league recently told teams that 40% of that revenue could be lost without gate receipts this season, sources said. The NBA's revenue was down 10% to $8.3 billion for the 2019-20 season, according to data provided to teams from the league.
The NBA and NBPA have extended that opt-out window four times this year, including again Friday, as a good-faith gesture toward reaching structural changes to the CBA. For now, the union and league will continue talks through the weekend and into next week, sources said. For the season to start on Dec. 22, however, there's much work to be done.
The new goal of the league, sources said, is to put together a 72-game slate with reduced cross-country travel. In that scenario, the subsequent 2021-22 season can go off on its normal October-to-June trajectory — perhaps with New Yorkers packed together underneath the Garden’s famous ceiling again.
Lakers swingman Danny Green, of Long Island, said James may sit out the first month of the season if Dec. 22 is opening night. Let him — as long as King James suits up opening night for the ring ceremony and on Christmas, the bonanza day of its television partners. “Certainly, it creates some challenges,’’ Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told The Post. “But challenging times require adaptation. I have no doubt we will be fine.’’
Shams Charania: The NBA and NBPA are extending today’s deadline to Nov. 6 for either side to serve notice on terminating the collective bargaining agreement, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Scott Agness: Just in: NBA and NBPA to push back a potential decision to terminate the CBA to Nov. 6.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: For fourth time, NBA and NBPA agree to extend deadline to serve notice on terminating the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Extension goes to Nov. 6 now, which allows additional time for talks on CBA modifications. Discussions are ongoing this weekend.
Adrian Wojnarowski: There's still a gulf between NBA and NBPA on a start date for the 2020-2021 season, sources tell ESPN. NBA wants pre-Christmas; NBPA still preferring mid-January. Economic issues remain significant, including escrow withholding on player salaries w/ revenues down b/c of no fans.
Tim Reynolds: It's a one-week extension of the opt-out window for the NBA and NBPA, AP is told. The CBA could expire Dec. 14 (and likely chaos ensues) if either side decides to opt out once the new Nov. 6 deadline hits.
Michael McCann: In the unlikely event NBA or NBA serves notice to terminate CBA, both sides would then be obligated to engage in good faith negotiations for 60 days. No strike or lockout during that time. If still no deal? Then it could get litigious fast, with antitrust law entering the room.
Jared Dudley: Can’t play 50 games .. Thats a hard no for the players! Has to be a min of 72.. the real question is what change in a week? The league kept saying January January.. Everybody knew how big Christmas was and Olympics being late July months ago.. TV just mentioned it now??
Shams Charania: The NBA has informed its 30 teams that they are now allowed to open practice facilities for group practices, workouts and scrimmages with up to 10 players, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA players must be tested every day for the coronavirus and return a negative test each time to be allowed to participate in offseason workouts at team facilities, according to a memo shared with teams today.
Tim Reynolds: One thing to note from the offseason workouts memo shared with teams today detailing how they can open facilities: In a big departure from the past norms, teams cannot make their facility available to players who were not under contract with the team when last season ended.
Marc Stein: NBA players may only be offered a 50-game season, I'm told, if the union insists on a mid-January start rather than the Dec. 22 proposal, because the league's television partners do not want the 2020-21 season to stray past mid-July ... or clash with the Tokyo Olympics
Marc Stein: A 50-game season would reduce player salaries significantly in 2020-21, since NBA pay adheres to a regular-season schedule The NBA's 72-game model calls for teams to play roughly 14 games a month through May, followed by the playoffs through mid-July -- before the Olympics begin
Tim Reynolds: Can confirm that the league’s television partners are adamant — they want to start Dec. 22, though what I’m hearing on a season potential end date is slightly different than what Marc has here (but he’s in the Hall of Fame and I’m barely allowed to buy a ticket to go there).
Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said that he "absolutely" expects Friday's deadline for the NBA or the National Basketball Players Association to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement to be pushed back, as the two sides work through several issues ahead of returning to play for the 2020-21 season.
"Absolutely," Brogdon, an NBPA vice president, said Thursday in an appearance on ESPN's The Jump, when asked if he expected the deadline to be pushed back. "The way talks are going, this is a super complicated issue, and there's a lot to balance. [There's] a lot of minds working on this collaboratively, on both sides. So it's going to take some time. I don't think a few weeks, but I think it will take at least a few more days."
"I think those are the two options," Brogdon said. "We're either going to start MLK Day, which I think a lot of the players are leaning towards, or we're going to start the 22nd, Christmas time. But the huge difference is revenue. Revenue, and trying to get the season back on track to start in that September-October range. So I think calculations are being done on both sides on how much revenue would be lost for each potential date, and we'll have to come to some type of agreement and go from there."
The sides are close on the salary cap and tax figures, Roberts told The Athletic. Multiple sources say the cap and tax are expected to be $109 million and $132 million, respectively.
Ahead of Friday’s deadline between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association for either side to serve notice to terminate the collective bargaining agreement, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told The Athletic that the union and players are continuing to review the league’s proposal to begin the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22 and that she does not expect any decision by the end of the week. “The union and the players are analyzing all of the information and will not be rushed,” Roberts told The Athletic. “We have requested and are receiving data from the parties involved and will work on a counterproposal as expeditiously as possible. I have absolutely no reason to believe that we will have a decision by Friday. I cannot and will not view Friday as a drop dead date.”
Roberts added that she wants to make sure the players have enough time to prepare for the upcoming season, whenever it may begin. “The players are now being asked to re-pack their bags and head back to camp in a little over a month. The prospective loss of revenue largely forms the basis of this proposal. Since its receipt a week ago, the NBPA — as is our practice — is reviewing and assessing the proposal and its underlying thesis. We will do so as expeditiously as practicable. Our focus will also include an analysis of any relevant health and safety implications. Simultaneously, we will be addressing these issues with our players. And, while we are all anxious to resolve these and other substantive issues outstanding between the parties, we plan to proceed at a pace that provides our players ample opportunity to determine the best way to proceed.”
“Given all that has to be resolved between now and a Dec. 22 date, factoring that there will be financial risks by a later start date, it defies common sense that it can all be done in time,” Roberts told The Athletic. “Our players deserve the right to have some runway so that they can plan for a start that soon. The overwhelming response from the players that I have received to this proposal has been negative.”
For the 2020-21 season, the NBA is expecting flexibility in its scheduling and plans to release the schedule in two halves, sources say. The league is aiming for three-to-four preseason games to allow teams to reset their arenas for regular-season play, according to sources. If a Dec. 22 start is agreed upon, training camp would begin Dec. 1 and a set number of days would be used to begin coronavirus testing before team activities.
The change of heart allows the NBA to showcase its league on the year’s most important day for its TV partners — Christmas. And it gives Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau little time to get organized as training camps will have to start around Dec. 1. “It’s interesting Silver talked behind the scenes about waiting until a March time frame if it meant getting a vaccine,’’’ one NBA insider said. “That’s until the finance committee showed him the numbers.’’
“The priority is getting back to the October-to-June format for 2021-22,’’ one industry source said. “They found out the hard way not enough people watch TV in the summer. The virus and real-life struggles obscure the reality that sports on TV in the summer don’t generate enough viewers.’’
The NBA Board of Governors is currently faced with an uphill decision on targeting an exact date for the 2020-21 season to commence. After much deliberation, it appears that commissioner Adam Silver has made an aggressive front towards the league resuming play in possibly December, with January coming as a last resort. Even so, that leaves certain teams that recently wrapped up their 2019-20 with little time to regroup before the start of the next season. Circling back to what Beal had to say on the podcast. Fir on the restart itself, then on the Nets: “Definitely surprised because I was under the impression that we won’t start till February, looking at March probably as the legit start date,” said Beal on his thoughts of a quicker start. “It definitely changes my routine and how I am working out. But I think the monetary impact is what the board of governors is looking at.”
Kevin O'Connor: Sources: The NBA held a call this afternoon with team GMs & presidents to detail the plan for a 72-game season set to begin December 22 & end before the Olympics in July. The league intends to schedule games in a way that reduces travel by 25% with teams playing MLB style series.
Bobby Marks: There’s a path to getting a deal done between both sides but it’s going to take the players association to sell their members on why a 12/22 start is critical when it comes to future revenue. Starting in mid-January would be detrimental to the economic growth of the league.
The NBA is open to the idea of regional pods and intra-conference scheduling to lessen team travel and exposure to the coronavirus, sources said. The NBA hopes that it can play games with fans in home arenas in 2020-2021, but it has also been exploring the possibility of modeling a bubble environment similar to what Major League Baseball used to finish the season's playoffs, sources said.
With the NBA’s owners proposing to start next season around Christmas, should the players view it as an early holiday present? Or would they like to return the gift? "I don’t know what I think yet," Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. "We are in the throes of discussing it and in the throes of evaluating what it means in terms of the revenue-related issues that have been raised. Frankly, we’re also spending some time trying to get information on what this means in respect to player health."
These are the three main reasons a December start, after the longest N.B.A. season, suddenly became the target: This is what the league’s television partners want. Throughout the N.B.A.’s three-month stay at Walt Disney World, all signs pointed to the 2020-21 season beginning in 2021. League insiders frequently cited mid-January as the earliest possible start date, and several said they would not be surprised to see the wait extended until February or March. Playing the long game, it was often suggested, would enhance the chances of fan attendance for at least a portion of the regular season.
Of course, over the two-plus weeks since the season ended, daunting projections about the spread of the coronavirus this winter have led to rising pessimism about the league’s ability to admit even small crowds anytime soon. Multiple teams thus began to whisper last week that momentum was building to start the new season around Dec. 25 to preserve the ability to broadcast five games on Christmas Day.
Disney, which owns ESPN and has been described by Silver as the league’s biggest partner, badly wants to continue that Christmas tradition and have five games to televise on either ABC or ESPN. Turner, the N.B.A.’s other primary broadcast partner, would get its traditional opening night doubleheader on a Tuesday if the union agrees to the Dec. 22 proposal. The league, for its part, has informed the union that it projects a difference of $500 million in revenue if it can start the season in December rather than mid-January. All of those factors resonate pretty loudly after the season that the N.B.A. just endured.
The league wants to give fans (and players) their summers back. Starting the new season before Christmas would probably enable N.B.A. players to participate in the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021. And several of the league’s top international players, such as Italy’s Danilo Gallinari, Marco Belinelli and Nicolo Melli and France’s Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert, have said in recent weeks how important it is to them.
The league wants to make that happen, if possible, which would also prevent high-profile N.B.A. playoff games from clashing with the Summer Games. But the bigger motivation for preventing the playoffs from straying too far into July is to avoid playing throughout the summer for a second successive season, while also restoring free agency as the centerpiece of the N.B.A.’s summer calendar.
League officials have publicly downplayed concerns about the recent ratings decline, pointing to the N.B.A.’s mammoth social media following as a source of optimism about its broader appeal. Vocal critics — with little to no evidence — increasingly attribute the plunge to a leaguewide embrace of social justice causes, but the dip has had an impact even if there is no clear-cut explanation. Long-held fears among N.B.A. traditionalists that the viewing audience will inevitably shrink after July appear to have been validated.
January 28, 2023 | 9:39 pm EST Update
On the heels of James Dolan publicly declaring his playoff expectations for this season, Knicks’ coach Tom Thibodeau said he doesn’t feel pressure to reach the owner’s goal. “I never feel pressure because I know what I put into each day,” Thibodeau said. “I think anybody who puts everything they have into each day, you never feel pressure.” Dolan told WFAN on Friday that he “fully expects” the Knicks to reach the playoffs and “that will definitely be a benchmark.” Left unsaid was what would occur if the Knicks fail, but coaches are often the first on the chopping block when an owner is displeased.
Callie Caplan: Luka Doncic (left ankle sprain) took the court during his usual pregame warm-up window to do a watered-down version of his typical shooting routine. No pivots, stepbacks or high impact, but has worked for about 20 minutes on midrange, 3s and free throws. pic.twitter.com/QPig0A8pff
January 28, 2023 | 8:32 pm EST Update
“As I’ve gone through free agency this time around, of course I’m thinking of where I can compete for my third championship, but the words home and family are what I kept coming back to … I need to be there for my daughter, for my son, for my wife,” Parker posted. “I can’t be without them for parts of the season when Lailaa is in school and I won’t miss her volleyball games or school dances simply because of distance. Lailaa starts high school in August and I need to be there for her, just as she’s been there for me. “After evaluating the landscape together with my family, we’ve decided the Las Vegas Aces are the right organization for us at this point in our lives.”