Now more than two weeks removed from the Los Angeles Lakers winning the title, there remains little clarity about what the 2020-21 NBA season will look like.
A new CBA still needs to be negotiated with updated salary cap figures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with the deadline for such negotiations having been pushed back a fourth time.
The date for the start of next season being thrown around the most is December 22. While it is fast approaching, starting that early would allow the NBA to return to a normal schedule for 2021-22. However, this plan has reportedly received pushback from players, namely stars like LeBron James, who want a longer offseason.
Players had hoped to start in January, around Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18, but may have to settle for a very shortened season in order to do so, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times:
NBA players may only be offered a 50-game season, I'm told, if the union insists on a mid-January start rather than the Dec. 22 proposal, because the league's television partners do not want the 2020-21 season to stray past mid-July … or clash with the Tokyo Olympics
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 30, 2020
A shortened season that puts the NBA back on a normal schedule may end up being the best-case scenario. It would allow the 2020-21 season to end around July and would offset the historically long 2019-20 campaign, which took almost a full calendar year.
CBA-based shortened seasons are also not out of the norm, as two of the last 20 seasons have not been a full 82 games because of back-and-forth negotiations. A 50-game season was played in 1998-99, while 2011-12 had just 66 games.
CBA negotiations now has Nov. 6 deadline
The NBA and NBPA have remained at odds over details for a 2020-21 season, primarily number of games that would be played and a start date. Despite that, the two sides do continue to negotiate toward a resolution and the new deadline is now November 6.
The current CBA will automatically be terminated on December 14, unless the parties reach an agreement.
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