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With 2019-20 Season Over, NBA Must Now Confront Tough Financial Reality Ahead

With 2019-20 Season Over, NBA Must Now Confront Tough Financial Reality Ahead

The longest season in NBA history ended Sunday night with the Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Miami Heat, 106-93, to win their 17th championship in franchise history.

Now comes the hard part for the NBA. With the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of disappearing anytime soon, the league must begin planning for its 2020-21 season amid unprecedented uncertainty.

The NBA sets its salary cap each year based on the projected basketball-related income for that season. That tends to be a relatively straightforward calculation, as the league can plan to have a full 82-game regular season and four-round postseason with fans in attendance.

However, the 2020-21 season will likely be the exception to that rule.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently told CNN’s Bob Costas that the league hopes to play “a standard, 82-game season and playoffs” next year. He added that the “goal would be to play games in home arenas in front of fans,” although he noted “there’s still a lot that we need to learn in terms of rapid testing, for example.”

That could have a dramatic impact on next year’s salary cap, creating a potentially massive headache for the NBA and National Basketball Players Association in upcoming negotiations.

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NBA Finals 2020: Heat vs. Lakers Recap, Analysis and Best Moments | Bleacher Report

NBA Finals 2020: Heat vs. Lakers Recap, Analysis and Best Moments | Bleacher Report

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) and Anthony Davis (3) celebrate after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers opened up a new championship era in franchise history Sunday by taking the first NBA Finals victory of the LeBron James-Anthony Davis partnership.

The Lakers finished off their six-game series with the Miami Heat by turning in the most dominant performance of the series. 

Los Angeles defeated Miami 106-93 in Game 6, but the final score does not represent how one-sided the final contest inside the Orlando bubble was. 

Frank Vogel’s team took a 64-36 lead into the half, and it took a 27-point lead over the Eastern Conference champion into the final quarter. 

James and Davis controlled the contest, just like they did for most of the series, by combining for 47 points and 29 rebounds.

James captured the Most Valuable Player award for averaging 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game in the NBA Finals. Davis also averaged a double-double with 25 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

According to NBA History, James and Davis became the second Lakers duo in franchise history to average 25-plus points per game in an NBA Finals. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant achieved that feat in 2002. 

Jimmy Butler was the only other player in the series to come close to matching one of those averages, as he had 26.2 points per game. 

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Analysis: The bubble is the real MVP of this NBA season

Analysis: The bubble is the real MVP of this NBA season

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver waves to Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sitting nearby as he attends Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Miami Heat on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver waves to Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sitting nearby as he attends Game 2 of basketball’s NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Miami Heat on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

AP

The bubble hasn’t burst.

And the finish line is in sight.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledges that he had doubts if this was even possible. So did many players. Racial injustice protests were happening around the country and coronavirus positivity rates were skyrocketing in Florida when the NBA moved into Walt Disney World — the league calls it a campus, everyone else calls it a bubble — three months ago. It wasn’t a stretch to think it was only a matter of time before trouble started.

Never happened. The NBA got the games in and kept the virus out. Players managed to find a balance between what they felt were their basketball obligations and social responsibilities.

This season, a year that was longer than a year and difficult in almost every imaginable way, is nearing an end; the Los Angeles Lakers have a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat, with a potential title-clincher in Game 5 coming Friday night.

“The job’s not done,” Lakers forward LeBron James said.

He’s right, on many levels. The NBA came here to crown a champion; that hasn’t happened yet. Players came here to use their platform to fight against racial inequality and voter suppression; those efforts continue. And the coronavirus pandemic rages on; no end in sight there, either.

Outside the bubble, problems reign.

Inside the bubble, things are not perfect. It has not been easy. Often, it was not fun.

But it worked.

“I wanted everybody to have perspective on how

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The bubble is the real MVP of this NBA season

The bubble is the real MVP of this NBA season

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The bubble hasn’t burst.



NBA Commissioner Adam Silver waves to Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sitting nearby as he attends Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Miami Heat on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


© Provided by Associated Press
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver waves to Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sitting nearby as he attends Game 2 of basketball’s NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Miami Heat on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

And the finish line is in sight.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledges that he had doubts if this was even possible. So did many players. Racial injustice protests were happening around the country and coronavirus positivity rates were skyrocketing in Florida when the NBA moved into Walt Disney World — the league calls it a campus, everyone else calls it a bubble — three months ago. It wasn’t a stretch to think it was only a matter of time before trouble started.



Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James celebrates during the second half in Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Miami Heat Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


© Provided by Associated Press
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James celebrates during the second half in Game 4 of basketball’s NBA Finals against the Miami Heat Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Never happened. The NBA got the games in and kept the virus out. Players managed to find a balance between what they felt were their basketball obligations and social responsibilities.

This season, a year that was longer than a year and difficult in almost every imaginable way, is nearing an end; the Los Angeles Lakers have a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat, with a potential title-clincher in Game 5 coming Friday night.

“The job’s not done,” Lakers forward LeBron James said.

He’s right, on many levels. The NBA came here to crown a champion; that hasn’t happened yet. Players came here to use their platform to fight for racial inequality and against voter suppression;

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