In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all of the major sports leagues are reeling to figure out a way to resume play safely. The NBA — with the 2020 playoffs just one month away — suspended operations indefinitely to figure out their next steps in such an uncertain time.
There have been a number of options considered when discussing the possibility of finishing the 2019-20 NBA season. But even if the season can return, it will be without fans, meaning the NBA will lose a significant portion of their revenue no matter what.
On the other side of this, once the season was suspended on March 11, the NBA and NBA Players Association had two months to possibly terminate the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
With May 11 being that two month deadline – and the NBA nowhere near an ability to make a decision – the NBA and NBPA agreed to extend the deadline of terminating the CBA until September, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The NBA has reached an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association to extend until September the 60-day window that preserves the league’s right to terminate the collective bargaining agreement in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN. Pushing back the deadline allows for the NBA and union to gather a clearer picture of the economic losses and bargain on a number of crucial financial issues, including salary caps and luxury tax thresholds.
The reason for terminating the CBA under the NBA’s “force majeure” provision would be to re-negotiate all phases of the agreement should the league undergo something catastrophic, like a global pandemic.
The deadline given in the CBA was only two months. However, it’s clear that the NBA will need more than two months to come up with a contingency plan to salvage the 2019-20 season.
Extending this deadline until September will afford the NBA and NBPA some time to figure out a way to continue the season while truly understanding the future financial impact this pandemic will have on the league.
If the league can resume play safely for the 2020 playoffs, then they will be able to recoup some lost revenue. They’ll then need to adjust the salary cap and luxury tax threshold accordingly.
There’s no telling yet just how massive of an impact this pandemic has had on the NBA and other sports leagues. But the NBA and NBPA will not take any drastic measures until it’s absolutely necessary, a discussion that will now be revisited in September.