Basketball: NBA's Dec 22 start date receives final approval, draft to be held on Nov 18

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

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The National Basketball Association's Board of Governors gave final approval on Tuesday (Nov 10) 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 on Monday night. The upcoming season will include 72 regular-season games, down from a typical 82-game season.

Other key dates finalised 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 on 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 on Monday: A salary cap of US$109.1 million (S$147 million) for the upcoming season and a luxury-tax threshold of US$132.7 million - both figures unchanged from last season. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap will increase between 3 and 10 per cent 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.

With such a short time between the conclusion of the play-offs and the start of the next season, there have been reports that some players could miss the start of the season for additional rest. The Lakers' Danny Green said last month that people should not expect his teammate LeBron James to play in the first month.