The Los Angeles Lakers may not get much time to celebrate their 17th championship in franchise history as there are reports the league is looking to start the 2020-21 NBA season sooner than anticipated.
The current plan being discussed calls for a 70- to 72-game schedule that would begin on December 22. Christmas time is a key point in the NBA’s calendar and starting the season then would allow them to keep their primetime TV slots and in turn keep their normal revenue.
While the NBA has its reasons for the earlier start, it is already causing pushback around the league. In an appearance on NBA TV, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the players like LeBron James do not support the earlier start date:
“There is some skepticism around the players, a lack of consensus among the players, about starting that early and what that would entail from a player perspective and a team perspective. Because the season just ended on October 11, and so for the two Finals teams to then turn around two months later and begin is a tall task. There are several star players around the league, including LeBron James, that are not for a start that quick on December 22 and believe that it is too soon, I’m told.
“And so when you have factors like that, it makes those scenarios hurdles as far as right now. As far as the league and the players coming to a consensus, there is still a gap that remains for the two sides to come to an agreement and a consensus. And that’s just a December 22 start. There are other issues like the salary cap, the player escrows, that also are outlining situations.”
Danny Green already suggested that James and other veterans might not show up the first month if the plan does go through, so the sentiment must be shared amongst the Los Angeles roster.
It is unreasonable to expect the two Finals teams to be on board with this schedule, but the rest of the bubble participants could also argue it is too soon. Although the NBA and NBPA appear far off on a date, there is some solace in knowing that there will be games played next year rather than none at all.
Martin Luther King Jr. start date most optimal option
While December may be too quick of a turnaround, a date such as like MLK Jr. Day could be the best option for both sides. MLK Day in 2021 falls on Jan. 18, giving players like James at least two months before having to report to camp.
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