After several weeks of discussions, the NBA and NBPA finally came to an agreement and approved the December 22 start date of the 2020-21 season.
It is a massive win for the league because this means they will be able to make up for some of the expected lost revenue teams will experience as a result of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Teams rely on various revenue streams, such as ticket sales and concessions, but COVID will likely put an end to the hope of having fans in arenas — at least for the time being. However, being able to capitalize on Christmas Day games should be a boon.
While the 2020-21 season officially will start in the next month, there are still other matters the NBA and NBPA need to attend to. One of those is the percentage of player salaries that will go into escrow.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the two sides are currently negotiating with the hope that it will return to normal during the 2022-23 season:
The NBA and NBPA will now work to finalize health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 season. Sides are discussing a 17-to-18 percent escrow of player salaries over the next two years — with the hope the withholding amount is down to normal 10 percent in 2022-23. https://t.co/fuv9otV3vl
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 6, 2020
The league originally asked for around 25% or so of salaries to be held in escrow, with the players association countering at a figure closer to 15%. The reported 17-18% seems to be a fair middle ground that will likely be agreed upon barring any last second changes.
It remains to be seen when a decision will be made, but there are other important issues to consider as well. Discussions about a modified play-in tournament appear to be gaining steam, as well as the possibility of implementing bubble sites to protect against COVID-19 cases.
The 2020-21 NBA season may have a tentative schedule in place, but there will likely be changes and adjustments throughout the year.
2020-21 season salary cap still a question
Aside from the escrow percentage, the NBA must also determine a salary cap and luxury tax for the upcoming season.
Figures for the cap are normally determined using the previous season’s BRI, but because of the pandemic that is not feasible. Talks have included an artificial cap that remains at the $109 million figure used during the 2019-20 season and that would make the most sense.
However, it is possible that the league could look to minimally inflate it in order to save certain teams from dipping too far into the luxury tax.
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