NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday he is hopeful that a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players can get done by the end of this week, though he stopped short of predicting that a deal would actually get struck.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association face a Friday deadline for either side to decide that they will opt out of the deal and end the current CBA on June 30. That opt-out deadline already has been extended twice, and Silver said the NBA’s current plan is to exercise that option if there is no deal by Friday night.
“I hope we do get one done,” Silver said at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the league’s Board of Governors. “Because, honestly, I’m only one side of the negotiation, it’s difficult for me to place odds on whether or not that’s going to happen.”
The NBPA did not have any immediate reaction to Silver’s comments. Both sides have said throughout this process — and past labor talks — that they do not intend to negotiate or discuss specifics publicly.
The sides have been talking about a new CBA for more than a year, and Silver said he expected negotiations to resume Wednesday night. And if Friday passes without a deal, it wouldn’t be dire immediately since the sides still will have three months to get something done before the current CBA expires.
“There’s just something about collective bargaining where deadlines are necessary and seemingly sides tend to hold their best positions until the very end,” Silver said. “So my sense is this will go down to the very end.”
The current CBA, which took effect July 1, 2017, came with a mutual option for either the NBA or the NBPA to opt out after six seasons — June 30 of this year.
The sides originally had a Dec. 15 deadline to announce an intention to exercise the opt-out, then pushed it back to Feb. 8, then to Friday.
A lockout would be damaging on many levels — well beyond the obvious part of how a league that is coming off a season of record revenue would see that momentum interrupted. It could interfere with this summer’s World Cup in the Philippines, with NBA players expected to fill the U.S. and other rosters (and three NBA coaches set to be part of the U.S. coaching staff).
It could also disrupt plans for an NBA Summer League in Las Vegas that figures to feature presumed No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama in what would be a global spectacle, as the French phenom begins his NBA career.
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