NBA, union expected to postpone Friday deadline

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said that he “absolutely” expects Friday’s deadline for the NBA or the National Basketball Players Association to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement to be pushed back, as both sides work through several issues before returning to play for the 2020-21 season.

Brogdon, an NBPA vice president, said “absolutely” in an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump when asked Thursday if he expected the deadline to be extended. “The way talks are going, this is a super-complicated issue, and there’s a lot to balance. [There’s] a lot of minds working on this collaboratively, on both sides. So it’s going to take some time.

“I don’t think a few weeks, but I think it will take at least a few more days.”

One significant issue is determining when next season will begin. Sources have told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe that the league is looking at the possibility of returning as soon as Dec. 22 in order to have games played on Christmas Day — the biggest day of the league’s regular-season calendar — and to get back on its former schedule for the 2021-22 season.

The sources also told ESPN another possibility is to begin on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in mid-January, though that would mean not playing on Christmas and would make getting back on schedule and finishing the season before the Summer Olympics difficult, if not impossible.

Brogdon said that, ultimately, an agreement will be reached to return on one of those two dates, and that discussions are centered around how revenue for each team would be impacted

“I think those are the two options,” Brogdon said. “We’re either going to start MLK Day, which I think a lot of the players are leaning towards, or we’re going to start the 22nd, Christmastime. But the huge difference is revenue. Revenue, and trying to get the season back on track to start in that September-October range. So I think calculations are being done on both sides on how much revenue would be lost for each potential date, and we’ll have to come to some type of agreement and go from there.”

The Pacers hired Nate Bjorkgren as coach last week, choosing the Toronto Raptors‘ assistant to replace Nate McMillan, whom the Pacers fired in August after being swept in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season.

Brogdon said he had lunch with Bjorkgren earlier Thursday in Atlanta and said he was excited about getting the chance to work with him.

“He’s going to be terrific,” Brogdon said. “Toronto has a great culture, as we all know, and a lot of bright young minds, and he’s one of them, so I’m super excited to have him on board.”

Brogdon, who is coming off career highs of 16.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists, said he has two personal goals for next season: to stay healthy and improve his 3-point shooting.

Brogdon has missed at least 18 games each of the past three seasons, and he saw his 3-point shooting drop by 10 percentage points after taking on a more ball-dominant role in his first season with the Pacers. He had spent most of his first three NBA seasons in Milwaukee playing off the ball alongside two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“For me, a big piece of me is being healthy,” Brogdon said. “My only fully healthy season has been my rookie year, and then the past three years I’ve sat out 15 to 20 games. So that’s really hurt me, and I think it’s really hurt my team. The second piece is making shots.

“This league is all about making shots, it’s all about shooting that 3-ball now, and I’ve been a good, I’ve been an excellent spot-up shooter in the past from the 3-ball, but now I’m not playing with Giannis. Now I’m not sitting on the perimeter waiting to get an open shot. I’m having to create, I’m having to create for my teammates, I’m having to shoot off the dribble, so that’s what I’ve been working on, and shooting the ball from range. I think shooting the 3-ball consistently this season will be the difference for me.”

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