NBA approves Dec. 22 start

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    THE NBA Board of Governors gave final approval Tuesday to the agreement with the players union on a Dec. 22 start date for the 2020-21 season.

    The move confirms details settled by the sides Monday night. The upcoming season will include 72 regular-season games, down from a typical 82-game season.

    Other key dates finalized are a Nov. 18 NBA draft, the opening of free agent negotiations on Nov. 20 and the first day players can sign free agent deals on Nov. 22.

    With the just-concluded 2019-20 season pushed into October because of COVID-19 pandemic delays, the typical late-October start to a new season had to be scuttled.

    The previous regular season was interrupted March 11 due to the pandemic and did not resume until more than four months later at a “bubble” environment near Orlando. The Los Angeles Lakers won the championship on Oct. 11— four months later than the season typically ends.

    The Dec. 22 start date for the upcoming season will allow the league to have its annual Christmas Day showcase of games.

    Another provision already announced Monday: A salary cap of $109.1 million for the upcoming season and a luxury-tax threshold of $132.7 million— both figures unchanged from last season.

    Under the collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap will increase between 3 and 10 percent each subsequent season, though the tax hit would lower should league revenue decrease from one season to the next.

    The league still has not announced if and when fans would be allowed to attend games.