NBA Board of Governors Unanimously Approve CBA Tweaks

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  • The NBA’s Board of Governors have unanimously approved the proposed changes to the league’s CBA.
  • Free agency will start on November 20 with player signings to begin two days later.
  • The L.A. Lakers are the betting favorites to win the 2021 NBA championship.

The NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the amendments to the league’s CBA which were agreed upon by league officials and the NBPA. The deal, consisting of financial and competitive rule changes, sets the stage for a shortened 2020-21 season which will begin before Christmas.

The league and the NBPA have been negotiating for weeks. An agreement in principle was reached on Monday night, leading to Tuesday’s vote. The deal was officially announced by the league on Tuesday night, calls for the free agency period to begin at 6 PM ET of Friday, November 20 or two days after the 2020 NBA Draft. Free agent signings will commence at 12:01 PM ET of November 22.

The schedule has yet to be announced but it is expected that it will include baseball-style road trips that will limit travel due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Each of the league’s 30 teams will play 72 regular season games each with the season opening on December 22nd.

Financial Changes

The salary cap for the 2020-21 season will remain at $109,140,000 while the luxury tax line is still at $132,627,000. Since both figures remain the same as those during the 2019-20 season, the amounts for the maximum and minimum salaries, mid-level exception, and bi-annual amounts will not change this year.

The cap and luxury tax line will increase each year by a minimum of 3% to a maximum of 10%. This will run until the end of the existing CBA. This means that the salary cap for 2021 will be at least $112,414,200 and could go as high as $120,054,000. Before the pandemic, the 2021 salary cap was projected at $115M with the luxury tax threshold formerly pegged at $139M.

As far as the player escrows are concerned, the current 10% deduction will continue to take effect. Salary escrows to be deducted will be spread out over next season and the following two campaigns, but players cannot be deducted more than 20%. The NBA declared a loss of $1.5B in 2020 due to the pandemic. This amount was broken down to $800M in lost gate revenues, $400M in sponsorship deals, and $200M from the fallout with China during the preseason.

Amending the CBA

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a force majeure provision in the NBA’s CBA that allowed the league to reopen and re-negotiate the current Collective Bargaining Agreement which runs through 2025. Financial issues like salary cap, luxury tax line, and player salary escrows were among the chief financial issues while the start and length of the season were the primary scheduling issues.

Both sides have burned the lines since the Lakers were crowned as 2020 NBA champions in order to forge a deal. Initially, the players wanted to start the season on Martin Luther King Day 2021 but the NBA insisted on a December 22 launch to prevent additional losses which would affect player pay under the league’s sharing of basketball related income. In the end, the NBPA gave in to the league’s demand and the season will start before Christmas Day.

However, the December 22 start will trigger unprecedented events. The 2020-21 season will start just 51 days after the previous season began. This marks the shortest break between two seasons in the history of the NBA. Likewise, there will only be just over a month for the 30 teams to finalize their roster and for the drafted rookies to play their first NBA game. These have never happened before but then you can also say the same for the COVID-19 pandemic. What this does though is put the league in a position to start the 2021-22 season on its traditional schedule and restore the league’s schedule to normalcy after the 2020-21 campaign.

Lakers As Favorites

The Los Angeles Lakers, who won their first NBA title in 17 years, are the current odds on favorite to win the 2021 NBA title. The Lakers have been listed as the +225 betting favorite at to top the Western Conference while the Milwaukee Bucks have been labeled as a +375 pick to win the East. Overall, the defending champions Lakers are the odds on favorite to win the 2021 NBA title at +325 with their cross-town rival Clippers ranking next to them at +550.

The Golden State Warriors, who went from being 2018 NBA Champions to the team with the worst record in the league last season are a surprise third in the current odds board to win the West (+42%) and to win the NBA title (+650). Meanwhile, 2019 champions Toronto is only 5th in the East at +750 while the 2020 finalists Miami Heat are just 4th at +450 to return to the NBA Finals. Miami is also only a +1400 to win the NBA championship next season.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, who will be picking first in next week’s NBA Draft have the third longest odds to win the West at +10000. The T-Wolves still have not decided on who to pick but the sportsbooks have listed Anthony Edwards as the betting favorite to go first at -155 with LaMelo Ball coming in second at +100 and James Wiseman in third place at +600.

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