NBPA Approves 72-Game Season Starting in December

There is still much to be negotiated, but it appears play will begin on December 22

NBPA Approves 72-Game Season Starting in December
LeBron James of the LA Lakers stands on the NBA logo.
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There is still much to be negotiated before play begins, but the National Basketball Players Association voted in favor of starting the NBA season on December 22 and playing 72 games as opposed to the usual 82.

Before the season begins, the NBA and NBAPA will still have to work out how to navigate testing amid the coronavirus pandemic and how much escrow will be taken from player salaries due to the shortened season, but it is looking like there will be professional basketball starting next month.

“Additional details remain to be negotiated and the NBPA is confident that the parties will reach agreement on these remaining issues relevant to the upcoming season,” the NBPA said in a statement.

Playing a 72-game season that will include nationally televised Christmas Day games is worth between $500 million and $1 billion in short- and long-term revenues to the league and the players, according to ESPN.

The NBA draft is scheduled for November 18 and training camp is set to open December 1. Free agency, which is still being discussed, will start at some point before those two dates.

According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, teams that are keeping the status quo with their rosters this season will have an advantage thanks to the strange start date.

“In a world where there already is so much uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic, throwing in a truncated training camp and free agents coming in along the way will make trying to get the new season started a huge challenge for many teams,” Bontemps writes. “Groups that are likely to return with minimal changes — such as the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat — will be at a big advantage.”

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