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NBA players approve starting the season on December 22

NBA players approve starting the season on December 22

The NBA Players Association gave its provisional go-ahead to the league’s proposal to begin the 2020-21 season on December 22 and reduce the schedule to 72 games.

“The Council of Player Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has tentatively approved the start date of December 22, 2020 for the 2020-2021 NBA season,” the body said in a brief statement.

“Additional details remain to be negotiated and the NBPA is confident that the parties will reach an agreement on these remaining issues relevant to next season,” he added.

The NBA and the Players Association will continue to negotiate other aspects of the season in the coming days, such as the distribution of the fall in income expected by the coronavirus pandemic and preventive measures to protect the competition, ESPN and the digital medium The Athletic said , which advanced the result of the vote.

Initially, the league planned to open the season in early 2021 in the hope that by then there would be progress in controlling the pandemic that would facilitate the return of spectators to the courts.

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The evolution of the pandemic, however, prompted the NBA to ask the players to start on December 22, just 71 days after the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory in the last playoffs, held behind closed doors at Disney World (Orlando).

This timeframe would be the shortest between the end of one season and the beginning of the next in the history of the NBA and also of other leagues such as MLB (baseball) and the NFL (American football), according to ESPN.

The NBA made this request to the players not to lose the television audiences of the Christmas season and to return to its traditional calendar, with the intention of not interfering in the Tokyo Olympics (July 23-August 8).

According to The Athletic, the proposal includes ending the regular season on May 16 and the Finals no later than July 22, with an adaptation of the clashes between the teams to reduce travel by 25%.

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The NBA estimates that this calendar will allow it to maintain between $ 500 and $ 1 billion of its income amid the challenge posed by the covid-19 pandemic, which has not allowed fans to return to the courts since March.

Until now, NBA players had been reluctant to kick off the campaign at Christmas, opting for January 18, the Martin Luther King Jr.Day holiday.

– Return of fans to the courts-

The NBA now has a tight schedule ahead in which, in less than two months, it must celebrate the Nov. 18 draft, free agency period and preseason fields.

According to ESPN, the NBA and the Association plan to discuss a free agency advance “as soon as possible” after the draft is over and to kick off the preseason on December 1.

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Regarding the financial negotiations, both parties gave themselves until Friday to finalize the update of the collective agreement, which governs the wage system of the players and the distribution of benefits between them and the franchises in practically equal parts.

The agreement must be adapted to a season that will continue to suffer the financial impact of the pandemic, which was the main cause of the reduction in income of some 1,500 million dollars from the NBA last season, according to media.

The NBA, according to The Athletic, aims to allow a limited number of spectators to enter the courts from the start of the campaign, depending on the restrictions imposed by local authorities.

Fans would undergo protocols such as the use of masks, coronavirus tests and physical distancing, including a separation of about three meters between the seats at the foot of the track. AFP (HN).

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