The Dec. 22 start date for the 2020-21 season was somewhat a point of contention between the NBA and Players Association for an extended period of time, but the two sides have finally agreed on the pre-Christmas return of the games.
However, players’ health remains a concern for the teams considering the league will have returned only eight weeks after the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA finals.
Not to mention the eight teams not invited to the Orlando bubble have not played a competitive game since March. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts emphasized the concerns before the players struck an agreement with the NBA regarding the Dec. 22 return.
Meanwhile, Danny Green said some of his former teammates, including LeBron James, could miss the first few weeks of the season to protect their bodies from a physical overload. according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, health officials across the league echoed Green’s prediction:
Multiple officials also said they expected the two teams that just played in the Finals to potentially rest their stars and others early on while treating the first month of games as a sort of extended training camp and preseason.
“I don’t foresee all the Lakers guys playing the first month of the season [and going] all-out,” said the second official involved with player health.
“The problem is it’s a shortened season, so the games matter,” said the first official involved in player health.
Despite health concerns, James reportedly supported the proposed December return date due to financial factors.
Frank Vogel looking for balance
With the Lakers holding their first team practice of training camp, head coach Frank Vogel said a focus of his is balancing workload with not putting too much on players. The team will only have a few more days of workouts prior to tipping off the preseason on Friday.
Vogel additionally acknowledged he may spend upwards of the first month of the regular season still closely managing minutes and building players up.
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