NBA players union want more talks over restart plan

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – NBA players have requested further negotiations with league chiefs before signing off on plans to resume the season in Florida next month, a statement said on Friday.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said its board of player representatives had approved a fresh round of talks with the NBA on its 22-team return to play scenario.

“Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the NBPA said in a statement following a conference call involving player representatives.

ESPN reported that players had agreed in principle to the 22-team restart plan but needed to iron out the fine details.

The NBA’s board of governors on Thursday gave the green light to a plan to restart the coronavirus-interrupted season at Disney World in Orlando, Florida on July 31.

The NBA logo on a basketball. PHOTO: AFP

Under the NBA’s proposals, all teams will be based at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando to minimise the threat of COVID-19. Games will be played without spectators.

Playoffs would take place in August, with the NBA Finals set to be completed by October 12.

The league has also penciled in a provisional December 1 start date for the 2020-2021 season.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver cautioned on Thursday that the restart plan was still in its
early stages.

“We are in the equivalent of the first inning. We’ve got a long ways to go here,” Silver said. “We have always been looking for a safe way to resume, knowing we are going to be living with this virus for a while.”

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, leaving professional sport in North America at a standstill.

Under the restart proposal, 16 teams occupying the playoff berths in the Western and Eastern Conferences will be joined by six more teams to determine the final playoff line-up.