NBPA Director Michele Roberts said players’ response to the December 22 start date was overwhelmingly negative


The NBA’s proposed start date of December 22 was still ambitious. The NBA Finals ended on October 11, leaving both participants – the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat – only about two months before they played meaningful games again. Take into account a possible start of training camp on December 1 and this period is even shorter. Unsurprisingly, this led to a setback within the union.

A faction of players, including superstars, are pushing for the league to wait until Martin Luther King Day on January 18 to start the season, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo. They would prefer free agency to start on December 1, as opposed to the potential November 20 start that would come just two days after the NBA Draft. In an interview with Athletic’s Shams Charania, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts echoed the sentiment.

“Considering everything that needs to be resolved by December 22, taking into account that there will be financial risks at a later start date, it defies common sense that anything can be done on time.” said Roberts. Athletic. “Our players deserve the right to have a track so they can plan a start so quickly. The overwhelming response from players I received to this proposal was no. ”

While the NBPA hasn’t ruled out accepting Dec. 22 as a start date, negotiations don’t appear to be close to a resolution. Friday, October 30 is the current deadline for both parties to serve notice of their intention to withdraw from the collective agreement, but according to Roberts, a deal is unlikely to be reached by then.

“The union and the players are analyzing all the information and will not be in a rush,” said Roberts Athletic. “We have requested and are receiving data from the parties involved and will work on a counter-proposal as quickly as possible. I have absolutely no reason to believe that we will have a decision by Friday. I cannot and will not consider Friday a dead end. Dated. ”

There are pros and cons on both sides of this question. Much of the league, especially its top players and teams, just spent months in an Orlando bubble with limited access to family, friends, and the outside world. Players have described it as mentally exhausting, and for those who have been around long enough, the experience will likely still affect them physically. It’s understandable that they don’t want to go straight back to basketball after this. The players want to recover as humanely as possible.

The Lakers lead this line. Danny Green appeared on The Ringer NBA Show earlier this week and suggested some of their players might even skip the start of the season if it actually starts on December 22.

“I think most guys, if they say we’re starting in December, I think they’re like, ‘I won’t be there,'” Green said. “If I had to guess, because we have a lot of veterans on our team, it’s not like we have a bunch of young guys and rookies, we’ll probably have three or four young guys and rookies, let’s say we’re lucky enough to bring the same team back. We have [Rajon Rondo] who is in 15th grade, Dwight [Howard] who is in 17th grade, [LeBron James] who is in 18th grade. These guys have just played an entire season, Bron was in the final 10 years on his 17 year old which is mentally amazing. It’s hard to do that, and to have that quick reboot, I wouldn’t expect to see it there, I wouldn’t expect to see it probably for the first month of the season. He’ll probably work with us, but I don’t expect the guys to want to be there or show up on purpose. ”

Of course, not everyone went into the bubble. The eight worst teams in the NBA haven’t played a meaningful game since March. Players on these teams will likely want to start earlier and get things done. It would be one thing if these teams were all players as well, but remember some of the league’s most important franchises, including the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks, are part of that group.

The only thing that affects every player is the financial impact of an earlier start date. The NBA estimates that a Dec. 22 start would be worth about $ 500 million more than the kickoff in mid-January. Some players are equipped to forgo this extra money. Some, of course, are not. Union leader CJ McCollum estimated during the pandemic that 25% of gamers were living paycheck to paycheck. Some of these players need every penny they can get.

While players appear divided, the NBA appears to be moving forward with plans for the start of December 22. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported on Wednesday that the league held a call with general managers and team presidents to discuss details of a 72-game season starting December 22 and ending in July before the Olympics. One nugget that could apply regardless of the schedule turns out to be the league’s plan to cut down on travel by introducing MLB-like series in which teams face off multiple times in a row.

Negotiations are still ongoing. There is always the possibility that players are using this start date as leverage in another area, such as lower escrow deductions or a higher percentage of basketball-related income. But concerns about an early December are real. The NBA is a league run by the stars. It hardly makes sense to place such a burden on your best, most marketable teams by shortening their offseason. The last thing the league should want to do during a pandemic is put the Lakers at a disadvantage.


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