Report: NBA players get reduced salaries and 50-game season with January start date

Omar Guerrero
2 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is reportedly going to be implementing a 50-game season if the players union continues to push for a January start to the 2020-21 season.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is naturally concerned about players’ salaries getting reduced significantly if they play only 50 games since salaries are based solely on regular-season play.

If the league gets its wish to begin the season by Dec. 22, the players will see action for 72 games, which will be more favorable to the players salary-wise. NBA training camps would have to begin around early December, which will give players less time to recuperate from the grind of the previous season.

A 50-game season will look eerily similar to the 1998-99 season, which was delayed by a lockout. Back then, three games in three nights were normal, as this allowed the playoffs and Finals to be played at roughly the same schedule as previous seasons.

The San Antonio Spurs emerged as the NBA champions, but their success was somewhat downplayed by former Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson. Jackson suggested that the Spurs’ title should’ve received an asterisk because teams played in a shortened season.

Once the league and players’ union come to terms on an agreement for the 2020-21 season, fans shouldn’t expect to see the schedule to return to normal anytime soon. Whether it’s 50 or 72 games, the NBA could finish out the season a bit later than usual.

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Omar is a sportswriter who has followed the NBA for more than 30 years. From the Magic-Bird Era to the Small Ball Revolution, he has witnessed the league’s growth into a global phenomenon. He has written for various NBA sites over the past five years, contributing news and editorial content.