The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is preparing its members for the possibility of free agency being delayed “several weeks” from the scheduled October date, according to reports on Thursday.
The free agent window is tentatively scheduled to open October 18, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that uncertainty about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect league revenue – and, in turn, the 2020-21 salary cap – could lead to a delay.
He added that many teams also want to delay the draft, currently set for October 16.
Any additional time could allow for more accurate information on the financial implications of the pandemic, informing offseason plans for every team. The salary cap could be artificially inflated or smoothed to avoid any drastic decrease caused by the drop in revenue.
Per Wojnarowski, the union is also telling players that the 2020-21 season could start as late as January or February, rather than the scheduled start of December 1.
NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts has previously said she was not sure the new season could start by December.
Any changes would have to be collectively bargained between the NBA and NBPA, who previously delayed a deadline for the league to end the Collective Bargaining Agreement via a force majeure provision. That deadline is now September 10, although Wojnarowski reported it could be pushed back again until after the playoffs end.
The league is midway through the first round of the playoffs at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida. The NBA Finals are scheduled to start September 30.