NBA rumors: League offering players a 50-game season?

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

More on 2020-21 Season Plans

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
"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."
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 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.
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.
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.
Making this move sets up the N.B.A. for something resembling normalcy in 2021-22. The sudden shift to a December start, even if it is accepted by the players, would create chaos across the league. [...] But making sure the 2020-21 season ends in July at the latest would increase the N.B.A.’s readiness for a traditional October-through-June run in 2021-22, which appears to be its next real opportunity to regain access to the crowds, sponsors and ancillary arena income that, as Silver said in May, typically accounts for 40 percent of the league’s annual revenue.
Shams Charania: The NBA has sent its 30 teams the game presentation protocols for 2020-21 in conditions of limited/no fans: - Enhanced theatrical lighting - Crowd from arena noises/NBA 2K/prerecorded chants - Possibility of team arena entertainers
The news reported by our Shams Charania that the NBA is targeting a 72-game season that begins on Dec. 22 has everyone scrambling, because it’s a dramatic reversal of a trend in which the target date for starting 2020-21 steadily slipped backward. Until this week, the working assumption from league insiders was that the season might not begin play until mid-January or even later. Under that model, the 2020-21 season could drag deep into summer before declaring a champion.
The bubble is fine for fans and TV, but none of the participants are anxious to repeat it anytime soon. Certainly, it is a total non-starter for the regular season, plus the league now has the experience of in-market games in Major League Baseball, MLS and the NFL to learn from.
No decisions have been finalized on next season and talks with the National Basketball Players Association remain ongoing on many matters, including the financial parameters for the coming year. Those talks, especially on the money issue, would have to be concluded before any real decisions about next season are made. The NBPA has not made any final decisions on how it wants to see the league proceed, either. But this plan, starting in December and ending in June, would get the 2021-22 season — virus-permitting — back to normal, with 82-game slates starting in October.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is proposing several changes to next season that includes a 72-game regular season, a play-in tournament and the likelihood of no All-Star Game and All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, sources said. The league is considering a two-week break at the midway point of the season, sources said.
Chris Mannix: A concern several team executives have expressed to @SInow about a late December start: Free agency. With training camps needing to open in early December, free agency would have to be crammed into a couple of weeks.
This would mean a return close to the NBA’s normal schedule, significant financial ramifications to start early, a potential finish before the 2021 Summer Olympics, and allow a window for stars to play in the Olympics, sources said. The NBA wants to continue to incorporate the play-in tournament that was utilized in the Orlando restart to determine the eighth seed in the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs, according to sources. ESPN first reported that a Christmas start and playing fewer than 82 games would be discussed on Friday’s call.
The National Basketball Players Association would need to sign off on any plan to start the season on Dec. 22. Around the NBA, league governors and executives — as well as star players — have become aware of the league aiming toward a start around Christmas Day, which is quicker than expected following an Oct. 11. end to the season. An increasing amount of those people also have warmed to the possibility due to the fact that it is in the best interest of returning to the NBA’s typical schedule, generating revenue.
“It may be too quick, but it also makes too much sense,” one high-ranking team official told The Athletic. The NBA suspended its season on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic, restarted on July 30 and crowned the 2019-20 champion this month. The league had no players test positive for the coronavirus during the four-month resumption.
USA Basketball has begun reaching out to star players to gauge their interest in the Olympics, should the end date of the 2020-21 season provide ample time to prepare for the Games, sources said. The NBA continues to prefer in-market play for the 2020-21 season — instead of a bubble or multiple bubbles. The league is also looking into ways to reduce travel during the season, including possibly playing a team multiple times.
Marc Stein: The league had never taken a Christmas Day start off the table, but all signs coming out of the Bubble pointed to next season being pushed into 2021 Christmas is obviously a huge day for the NBA and its broadcast partners ... but MUCH must happen quickly quickly to preserve it
There has been some discussion among owners about starting as soon as Christmas Day to take advantage of that historically prime NBA showcase, sources said. Though numerous teams contacted by ESPN over the last several days weren't sure such a timeline was feasible. Others have been pushing for a start around Martin Luther King Day weekend in mid-January, sources said.
As with so much during the current COVID-19 pandemic, such plans are constantly in flux. That course could ultimately be still followed, but in recent days some governors have pivoted and begun considering the quicker timeline. Others continue to want to hold out for fans to be permitted into more arenas.
The league also continues to discuss tournament and play-in scenarios. The NBA has long-planned to use this upcoming 75th anniversary season to experiment with new revenue-generating formats.
Ongoing talks are centering on increased escrow taken from players' salaries, sources said. The league and union are still awaiting full audits on the Basketball Related Income that accounts for the league's 51-49 revenue split with players. The NBA and NBPA are working on resetting of the 2020-21 salary-cap and luxury-tax numbers based upon those audits and financial projections for the next year. This allows for teams, agents and players to have more time to prepare for the financial realities of the pandemic's impact on the league. As the NBA Draft approaches on Nov. 18 -- and free agency expected to start soon after -- teams are anxious for the league to reach an agreement with the union and deliver them more certainty on the cap and tax bills.
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September 21, 2021 | 9:51 am EDT Update

JJ Redick announces retirement

J.J. Redick announced his retirement from basketball on his The Old Man and the Three show. Redick played in the NBA for 15 seasons. Redick spent the first six-and-a-half years of his career with the Orlando Magic. He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2012-13 season. Redick then played the next four years with the LA Clippers, before moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers for two seasons. Redick then signed with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks at the 2021 trade deadline.
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After extending Luka Doncic and re-signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to long-term deals, the Mavericks are set to be over the cap over the next few years. They could look to lock up other core players and establish more tradeable salaries. Jalen Brunson and Dorian-Finney Smith are eligible for extensions worth up to $55.6 million over four years. Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell are also eligible for extensions that can up to three more years.
Andre Iguodala: “I mean, if I’m the coach, I’m going to Steph. You know, that’s common sense. I got that. I got common sense, so yeah, I’m going with Steph just because of his body of work, like the dude different. But I understand I’ve had great moments because Steph is so good. He getting all the attention and they leaving me open, I made an open shot and he just made the right play.”
Even though Geriot is now in the G League, getting an opportunity to run a team for the first time while learning day-to-day head-coaching responsibilities, he will still work closely with the Cavs. On July 26, the G league affiliate was officially announced as the Cleveland Charge — and they will work out of the Cleveland Clinic Courts practice facility while playing home games at Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center. Following the abbreviated 2020-21 season where the Charge played in the Orlando G League bubble due to COVID-19 protocols, the Cavaliers chose not to renew their lease with the Canton Memorial Civic Center, relocating the Charge downtown.
Arash Markazi: The Lakers gave No. 18 jerseys to Bibigo executives after announcing a five-year jersey patch sponsorship for over $100 million for the 18th championship the Lakers hope to win in the first year of the deal.

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Michael Jordan is taking an advisory role with Sportradar and increasing his investment in the newly public sports data company. The NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner will become a special adviser to the Sportradar board of directors, according to a release from the company. He will also increase his equity in the company, which he has held since 2015. Though financial details weren’t released, Jordan had less than 5% of the company, per SEC filings from earlier this month.
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