For teams that haven’t been on the court since March, the level of concern with starting the season later than usual — Dec. 22 — is nonexistent.
But as Andre Iguodala of the Miami Heat can attest, it’s another matter for teams and players who wrapped up the COVID-19-interrupted season less than a month ago. Iguodala is vice president of the NBA players union.
“We’re trying to get a good feel for the full body of players and giving them an understanding of what the climate looks like, all the different scenarios,” he told ESPN on Wednesday. “What it looks like starting in December? What it looks like starting in January? But our No. 1 concern is player health, being in the COVID-19 environment and also that quick turnaround.”
The quick turnaround could call for Iguodala and the Heat, plus LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, to be in training camp by Dec. 1.
Because the NBA stopped play March 11, the league reminded teams that all players will have had at least five months off in 2020. Play resumed near Orlando during the coronavirus pandemic in July and the playoffs began in August. The NBA Finals ended Oct. 11.
A counter proposal to start the 2020-21 season in late January was spiked by owners and players due to the projected loss of four weeks of revenue approaching $1 billion.
To be determined are the specifics of the schedule — commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly pushing for no back-to-back games and the postseason to end before the Summer Olympics in July — and the number of regular-season games teams would play.
Also uncertain is when — or if — fans could be allowed in arenas at any point during the season to help make up for revenue shortfalls.
The players union is reportedly pushing for escrow payments of 15 percent on all player salaries. As much as 18 percent could be withheld from salaries, per reports.
That would total approximately $720 million in player salary, reducing individual annual salaries of some of the NBA’s top stars by more than $6 million.
For example, the $34.4 million the Los Angeles Clippers owe Kawhi Leonard for next season would be dropped to $28.2 million. LeBron James’ $39.2 million salary would be just over $32 million.
–Field Level Media