Although the 2019-20 season was able to conclude in a safe and an effective manner, the NBA and NBPA find themselves in another tug of war.
The start of the 2020-21 season has been a topic of debate in the past few weeks because of the league’s insistence on playing as many games as possible. In order to recoup as much revenue as possible, the NBA is pushing for a start date of Dec. 22 that would allow them to capitalize on the Christmas Day slate of games.
The earlier date also allows for more games to be played, something that should be in the best interest of both parties. However, there has been pushback as players do not believe this is enough time for teams who played deep into the bubble playoffs.
The players association instead is pushing for a mid-January start, but if they do not budge on this demand then a 50-game slate would be the league’s proposal. Jared Dudley took to Twitter to give his stance on a shortened season:
Can’t play 50 games .. Thats a hard no for the players! Has to be a min of 72.. the real question is what change in a week? The league kept saying January January.. Everybody knew how big Christmas was and Olympics being late July months ago.. TV just mentioned it now?? https://t.co/JSQdY3sTXz
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) October 30, 2020
A 50-game schedule would greatly reduce player salaries in a year where all basketball-related income is expected to drop considerably. A shorter schedule also works against the Los Angeles Lakers as they would not be afforded much time to ramp up their play and have to come out of the gate at full throttle.
Commissioner Adam Silver originally proclaimed that a mid-January start was more likely, but now it appears how many games are played will be a sticking point in negotiations. Both sides want to avoid any alterations to the 2021-22 season, so it will be interesting to see if middle ground can be found in the coming weeks.
Laker veterans at a disadvantage
No matter when the upcoming season tips off, the Lakers will be at a disadvantage as they will have rested less than the other 28 teams. The Miami Heat are in the same boat, but do not have has many veteran players.
LeBron James in particular would need to pace himself even more than usual to start the season, but the Lakers should still be in good hands assuming Anthony Davis takes another leap forward.
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