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Memo: NBA, NBPA finalizing agreement on All-Star Game in Atlanta, protocols Throughout break

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association will have a finalized agreement to an All-Star Game on March 7 in Atlanta by next week, according to a league memo shared with teams and acquired by ESPN.

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Memo: NBA, NBPA finalizing agreement on All-Star Game in Atlanta, protocols Throughout break

The single-night event will encircle the Eastern Conference-Western Conference game in addition to the skills competitions, according to the memo.

The NBA and NBPA are finalizing information on safety and health protocols which will govern the All-Star participants and those players dispersing to the league's March 5-10 fracture, '' the memo stated.

The NBPA and NBA have been working through the details of a scaled-down occasion that centers on transporting players in and out of Atlanta in a considerably shorter window of time than that which would be necessary on a typical All-Star Weekend, sources said.

Safety protocols -- expected to include players coming on Saturday and leaving on Sunday night under tight quarantines -- are one of the details still being ironed out, sources said. The memo included details about All-Star split rules that will incorporate no international traveling, daily testing for players and also a necessity to return to home economies no later than the next day before the group's first game after the break, the memo stated.

The concern about global travel centres around the possibility that gamers may not be allowed to reenter the country as fast as they need, or that national and state regulations on testing and quarantines could leave too much to chance, sources said.

The NBA and union are increasingly confident that enough of the team's top players are willing to participate in the All-Star Game during a tight midseason break in this condensed pandemic schedule, sources said.

Outside the convention and NBA Finals, the All-Star Game is traditionally on very top of fan engagement for the league -- yet another factor motivating the effort to salvage the occasion this year. The raw financial impact of playing the sport isn't immediately apparent. Since the league decreased the regular season by 10 matches and does not have a separate All-Star Game television series, the league may also have generated more revenue on the season by filling the weekend with more regular-season games.

The NBA and NBPA share about a 50-50 split into basketball-related income.

The NBA has made the All-Star Game compulsory for gamers previously, but matches during a lot of the pandemic, including the Orlando restart and the 2020-21 regular season, have included opt-out clauses. That is thought to be a part of the discussions around the All-Star Game too, sources said.

The NBA has a midseason break set for March 5-10. Some groups will resume the season on March 11. The NBA is expected to release a program for the next half of this season in the next two to three weeks, sources tell ESPN.

NBPA president Chris Paul has been an advocate of the Atlanta All-Star Game idea, such as a plan to use the game to benefit historically Black colleges and universities and COVID-19 relief, sources said.

Even so, this is an idea that's been met with resistance and skepticism from gamers and from staff executives. In spite of protocol safeguards around the game, many see it as an unnecessary danger of the team , players and support personnel.

The travel and safety protocols are expected to be comparable to the ones for a regular-season NBA match -- flying in the night before on a private plane and flying outside following the game. Atlanta is the home of Turner Sports, which can televise the game without its crew having to travel outside the city.

Even a match without fans -- or with lean, socially distanced presence -- would still require substantial travel for gamers, support team and staff officials in the teeth of this pandemic. The typical hosting of corporate patrons, a substantial financial component of a normal All-Star Weekend, would not be possible amid the outbreak.

The NBA had originally postponed a February All-Star Weekend place for Indianapolis. Indiana has since been rewarded with all the 2024 All-Star Game.

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