The 2019-20 NBA restart in the Orlando bubble has gone according to plan with the Conference Semifinals in full swing without any major setbacks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The league has simultaneously been at work to establish a firm timeline for the 2020-21 season once the NBA Playoffs officially come to a close. Although they initially held out hope for the draft and free agency to get started in the middle of October, the NBA and the NBPA agreed to push it back to some point around Nov. 18.
Teams have already expressed concern with having a truncated offseason to prepare following an unprecedented year amid the ongoing pandemic. NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently acknowledged a Dec. 1 start for the 2020-21 season was likely too aggressive.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league has decided that the season will also be pushed back until at least Christmas Day:
NBA’s league office informed Board of Governors today that the 2020-21 season won’t begin earlier than Christmas Day, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Nov. 18 Draft date, 20-21 start date remain fluid.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 10, 2020
The NBA had plans to start next season at some point in December and have it run through late July or August. However, it is evident that there are still a number of factors for them to consider before moving forward with a concrete plan.
Teams are hoping that delaying the start of the 2020-21 campaign will give them more time to adjust to the newfound circumstances of the offseason. This would include getting players that took part in the bubble more time to recover while also being able to crunch the numbers on the new salary cap due to the coronavirus.
The NBA and NBPA already announced their agreement to allow non-bubble teams to hold voluntary group workouts at their team facilities, which is slated to take place from Sept. 14 to Oct. 6.
Despite Christmas Day serving as a marquee date for the NBA, it is imperative that the league gets a better grasp of the looming financial repercussions of this season, along with any potential setbacks that could occur with the draft and free agency.
Challenges with late start
Beyond financial implications the league faces in the near future, there also is the factor of the Olympics being tentatively postponed to 2021. The NBA calendar could conflict with that, or players may not have much time between the season concluding and Olympics beginning.
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