The National Basketball Players Association could vote on two return-to-play plans negotiated with the NBA as early as this week, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
The first plan would see the league resume on Dec. 22 and play a 72-game season. The regular season would end around mid-May and would be followed by a play-in tournament with the eight teams finishing seventh-through-10th in each conference before four rounds of playoffs. In this plan, training camps would open Dec. 1, an all-star break would occur in early March and a champion would be crowned by mid-July. This plan would also feature 14 back-to-back games for each team.
The second plan would see the league resume on Jan. 18 with a 60-game schedule. The regular season would end in early June and be followed by a play-in tournament and four rounds of playoffs, with the Finals happening in mid-August. Training camps would open on Dec. 28, an all-star break would occur in early April and each team would play 24 back-to-back games.
Both plans would see each team's travel reduced by 25 per cent from a normal season. But one significant difference is that the first plan is the only one that would allow the NBA to capitalize on the significant revenue from games on Christmas Day, an annual bright spot on the league's calendar.
For that reason, Charania reports, "Players coming out of several meetings believe a Dec. 22 start is inevitable." Meetings between the union and its membership are expected to continue this week with a vote being held either Thursday or Friday.
The NBPA and the NBA also continue to negotiate how much escrow players will need to pay over the coming years to offset the revenue the owners lost during the pandemic.
The owners, who are entitled to 49 per cent of all revenue for the 2020-21 season under the current CBA, initially proposed an unlimited escrow which would allow the lost revenue to be made up in one year, with players losing as much as 40 per cent of their salaries to escrow.
But Charania reports the NBA and Players Association have since agreed instead to three-year plan. However, the two sides have not yet agreed to an escrow percentage, he adds, with the owners asking for 25 per cent and the players countering with 15 per cent.