Sports What’s next for the NBA? Uncertainty surrounds draft, free agency and next season

02:06  16 october  2020
02:06  16 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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When will next season tip off? Will fans be allowed at games? How will the draft and free agency work? The NBA ' s bubble was a success, allowing the season to be completed safely during a pandemic, but now the focus shifts to an atypical offseason, which will set the stage for the 2020-21

What are the NBA ’ s immediate next steps? The first step is to exhale after what Silver called “the longest season ever.” In a typical year, free agency takes place about one week after the draft . If the league follows a similar timeline, free agency would likely take place in late November or at the

At this point, the NBA’s league office, team offices and players would like to take a vacation.

The NBA just concluded the 2019-20 season, which lasted an additional three months in a campus bubble after the league suspended operations for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LeBron James, JaVale McGee posing for the camera: The Lakers celebrate their 2020 championship. © Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports The Lakers celebrate their 2020 championship.

Still, the NBA must address various questions. When will free agency start? What about the season? Will it take place in home arenas with or without fans?

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16, with the start of free agency slated for two days after that. Next season is tentatively scheduled to begin Dec. NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently told ESPN' s Rachel Nichols he still wasn't sure when the 2020-21 season will actually tip off, citing the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus

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“I don’t know the answer to most of your questions,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a news conference on the eve of the NBA Finals.

Here is a rundown of the key issues the league is facing.

When does the NBA draft start?

The NBA will hold a virtual draft on Nov. 18 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets holding the top three picks, respectively.

Because the college basketball season was cut short during the pandemic, NBA teams have relied more on regular-season game footage and Zoom interviews.

When does NBA free agency start?

Usually the NBA starts free agency about a week after the NBA draft. But that start date is uncertain because the league still has to finalize the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds for the upcoming season.

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The versatility is what ' s appealing: Grant makes open 3s, guards every position and can attack a closeout and dunk on you. Another Grizzlies find and darling of draft nerds everywhere, Konchar went undrafted and spent most of this season with the Memphis Hustle.

NBA team owners will shred the current collective bargaining agreement under its force majeure clause if the season does not resume, leveraging future financial uncertainty against players and possibly setting potential earnings back a decade. But franchise owners will likely enact the clause anyhow.

Though the NBA typically does not finalize that until after the NBA draft in normal seasons, the league anticipates a significant reduction because of lost revenue during the suspended season and subsequent restart without fans. The NBA and the players union have had ongoing discussions about this issue.

Teams need to know these numbers so they know how to budget their payroll. Players need to know these numbers so they can determine their possible earning power in the open market.

“We recognize we need to be in a position to give them guidance,” Silver said. “Maybe we won’t be completed on everything that we need to work out with the Players Association, but that guidance will come. It’s going to come based on discussions we’re having with the Players Association on how to set the cap and tax.”

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The NBA announced that it has suspended its season until further notice after the completion of Wednesday night' s games after a member of the Utah Jazz preliminarily tested positive " The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.''

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When does next season start?

After initially targeting Christmas as the NBA’s start date, Silver said it is “more likely January.” But that date is tentative as well, for various reasons.

One, the NBA and the players union have to determine how both parties will handle the league’s financial losses. Two, the NBA hopes to begin next season with at least a limited number of fans in home arenas. Though outside health experts expressed concern about that idea, the NBA remains open to delaying the season’s start date to minimize risk. Three, the NBA has to account for a ramp-up time before the season actually starts.

“If we start in January, it means training camps have begun roughly three weeks earlier,” Silver said. “In the longest season in the history of the NBA, many of them have continued training throughout the break. The Finals [ended] in roughly mid-October, and they need a break, physically and mentally.”

Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What’s next for the NBA? Uncertainty surrounds draft, free agency and next season

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