NBA Players 'Negative' Towards December 22 Restart Proposal

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NBA players feel "negative" towards the proposal to restart the league on December 22, according to National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) executive director Michele Roberts.

The 2019-20 season was suspended for over four months during the coronavirus pandemic and was finished in a bio-secure bubble in Florida, though the regular season was reduced from 82 games, with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Finals on October 11.

The NBA is said to be hoping for a 72-game regular season for 2020-21, beginning three days before Christmas Day, with free agency commencing shortly after the draft on November 18 and training camps starting on December 1.

Roberts does not consider that to be a workable solution and says players she has spoken to are against the idea.

"Given all that has to be resolved between now and a December 22 date, factoring that there will be financial risks by a later start date, it defies common sense that it can all be done in time," Roberts told The Athletic.

"Our players deserve the right to have some runway so that they can plan for a start that soon. The overwhelming response from the players that I have received to this proposal has been negative."

The deadline for the NBA or NBPA to serve notice to terminate the collective bargaining agreement is set for Friday, though the parties can extend negotiations beyond that point.

"The union and the players are analysing all of the information and will not be rushed. We have requested and are receiving data from the parties involved and will work on a counterproposal as expeditiously as possible," said Roberts.

She stressed it was wrong to consider Friday "as a drop dead date”.

Roberts added: "This summer, up through just two short weeks ago, our players accepted the challenges posed by and risks to their personal health and safety in order to save our season.

"Separated from their communities and their families, these men lived in isolation for months. Each day could have been met with the news that this awful virus had invaded their space and they were exposed to likely infection. They stayed the course, followed the protocol and, as a result, were able to deliver fabulous competition and completed the season able to crown a champion.

"It has been reported that those efforts generated an additional $1.5billion of revenue to be enjoyed by the players – and the team owners."