NBA owners have four months to decide whether to terminate the league’s collective bargaining agreement in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
ESPN reported the players association and NBA agreed to move the deadline for possible termination to September. While good-faith negotiations on elements of the CBA, including future salary cap and ongoing financial implications, are ongoing, extending the deadline was the result of both sides hoping for a clearer picture of the league’s long-term outlook.
The NBA can terminate the CBA under the Force Majeure Event provision for the period starting March 11 when the 2019-20 season was suspended.
With an extension in place, ESPN reported, it is possible for the NBA season to resume this summer with a goal of recouping revenue lost from a hiatus that hit the two-month mark on Monday.
On a conference call with players Friday, commissioner Adam Silver outlined what could be harsh realities stemming from the lengthy break.
“This CBA was not built for an extended pandemic,” Silver said on audio of the call. “There’s not a mechanism in it that works to properly accept a cap when you’ve got so much uncertainty; when we’d be going in next season saying, “Well, our revenue could be $10 billion or it could be $6 billion. Or maybe it could be less.”
Revenue projections could be more finite than ever before if play resumes, as expected, in empty arenas without fans. Silver said on Friday’s call the league could finish this season and play next season without fans present.
The NBA and NBPA share revenue on a 51-49 split of basketball-related income.