It's done: The NBA comes back on Dec. 22, a 72-game season

It's done: The NBA comes back on Dec. 22, a 72-game season
Posted at 4:46 PM, Nov 10, 2020

It's official: The NBA is coming back on Dec. 22.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have struck a deal on rules for this coming season, setting the stage for what will be a frenzied few weeks before games resume.

Teams will play a 72-game schedule, with the league announcing the full regular-season and broadcast schedules at a later date.

The league said a new system would be used to ensure that the split of basketball-related income continues, one of the many details that had to be collectively bargained with the union because the current agreement between the sides had a great deal of language needed reworking because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Teams will be able to negotiate with free agents beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Nov. 20, and at 12:01 p.m. ET on Nov. 22, teams will be able to sign them, the league announced in a press release.

The league said the salary cap and tax level would remain the same heading into the new season. During the 2019-20 season, the cap was $109.14 million, with the tax level at $132,627,000.

"A new system will be used to ensure the parties' agreed-upon split of basketball-related income (BRI)," the league said in the news release. "In the event, player compensation were to exceed the players' designated share in any season, necessary salary reductions beyond the standard 10 percent escrow would be spread across that season and potentially the following two seasons, subject to a maximum salary reduction in any season of 20 percent."

This season, teams will not be playing in a bubble, so health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic will need to be worked out as teams will be traveling from city to city once again.

Last season ended on Oct. 10, so the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat will only have rested seven weeks before they start training camp on Dec. 1.