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NBA, players amend CBA for Dec. 22 season start

Frank Ntilikina of the Knicks puts up a

Frank Ntilikina of the Knicks puts up a shot between Wilson Chandler and Garrett Temple of the Brooklyn Nets during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The NBA and NBPA announced early Tuesday morning that they have reached an agreement in principle for adjustments to the collective bargaining agreement, clearing the way for the season to start Dec. 22.

The deal was approved in a vote by the NBA’s Board of Governors Tuesday night and with that final step the rushed offseason process will begin November 16 when teams will be cleared to begin trades. The NBA Draft will follow on November 18 and free agency will open for talks on November 20 at 6 p.m. with official signings starting at 12:01 p.m. on November 22.

The biggest hurdle to these negotiations was assurance for players that the drops in revenue over this past COVID-19 interrupted season and the expectations of more revenue losses this coming season with fans still unable to fill the seats in arenas would not reduce the salary cap and the players’ share of basketball-related income.

The agreement will keep the salary cap at $109.14 million and the luxury tax level at $132.627 million for the 2020-21 season, the same numbers as this coming season. The deal also provides that in subsequent seasons of the current CBA, the salary cap and tax level will increase by a minimum of 3% and a maximum of 10% over the prior season. The deal will provide smoothing for any escrow taken from players’ contracts - spreading out any increases over a three-year period.

The amended CBA also provides protection for teams, reducing luxury tax payments in proportion to any decrease in basketball-related income.

The agreement clears the way for the already-agreed upon plan of a 72-game schedule which will begin December 22 and end in June - in line with a normal ending to the season. That will allow the league to get back on a normal schedule by the 2020-21 season and also be done in time for players to participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in July.

Key NBA Dates

Nov. 16: Teams cleared to begin trades

Nov. 18: NBA Draft

Nov. 20: Free agency begins

Nov. 22: Official free-agent signings can begin

Dec. 1: Training camps open

Dec. 22: Opening tipoff

New York Sports