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NBA commissioner Silver suspects 'difficult negotiations' with union await

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The NBA and players union will need to do some collective bargaining before next season tips off, and commissioner Adam Silver admitted that negotiations could get rocky.

But he added that he expects the league and players to get through them.

"I don’t have any expectations of labor issues, I think, in the way you’re suggesting it, meaning that we won’t be able to resolve them," Silver told reporters prior to Game 1 of the Finals. "There’s no doubt there are issues on the table that need to be negotiated. We’ve managed to work through every other issue so far. I think we have a constructive relationship with (the union). We share all information. We look at our various business models together.

"So I think while no doubt there will be issues and there will be some difficult negotiations ahead, I fully expect we’ll work them out, as we always have."

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The NBA's overall revenue has been rocked both by the coronavirus pandemic and a suddenly icy relationship with China. According to one report, the league stands to lose more than $200 million after Chinese-run CCTV ceased broadcasting games.

Despite all this, there is talk the NBA may keep the salary cap close to the same in hopes of a financial rebound.

"If we just went by the formula in the collective bargaining agreement, we’d have a huge reduction in the cap and tax, and not only would it create havoc in terms of planning purposes for our teams, but I think roughly a third of the league would be free agents, and so there would be enormous inequity there because there would be no cap room for those players to sign contracts," Silver said.

"So I think this is where the players association also has to work through issues among themselves and sort of an equitable distribution in terms of wherever — whatever the pool of salary is that we have to distribute next year."