Although the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver were lauded for their handling of the 2019-20 season’s restart, the praise quickly faded as attention turned toward 2020-21.
The 2020 NBA Playoffs ran until the middle of October, leaving little room for a full offseason to take place. Silver originally projected a mid-January start for the upcoming season in the hopes that fans would be able to watch in arenas, but the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has essentially scrapped that hope.
The loss of basketball-related income (BRI) has been a massive concern for the NBA, so they came up with a proposed plan to begin the 2020-21 season around Christmas Day in order to recoup some of that loss revenue. The NBPA largely pushed back on that because of the turnaround time for some of the playoff teams who were within the bubble, citing the need for proper rest.
Despite their hesitation, it appears the two sides have agreed on a deal to start the upcoming season on Dec. 22, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The National Basketball Players Association has voted to tentatively approve NBA’s proposal for the 2020-21 campaign starting on Dec. 22 and playing 72-game season, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
NBA set to tip off Christmas week.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 6, 2020
After coming out of meetings, players believed that this outcome was inevitable and they were proven right. Silver warned that time was running out on this proposed plan, but he and the rest of the league office got their wish after weeks of bargaining.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, this is not optimal since they will be about two months removed from the title run but it is ultimately in the best interest of everyone given the financial ramifications.
The Lakers may opt to pace themselves at the beginning of the year and gradually ramp up to ensure they are healthy going into next year’s postseason where they figure to be favorites once again.
With a resolution finally on hand, the two sides can take a momentary sigh of relief and eventually begin preparations for what will likely be another eventful year of basketball.
Bubbles being considered for 2020-21 season
Despite the agreement, there is still the matter of how games will be held. So far, intraconference scheduling to limit travel is a popular suggestion but talks of bubble sites are also in consideration.
It is unreasonable to think that they would actually be implemented given all the logistic hurdles, but the ongoing health crisis could force the league’s hand.
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