After the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic set the NBA back months in their usual scheduling — with the 2019-20 season finishing in October instead of June — the league now has to work with a blank slate for 2020-21.
Despite the 2020 Draft being scheduled for mid-November and free agency beginning shortly after, the collective bargaining agreement has still not been re-negotiated.
Now, as the NBA reportedly is considering a December 22 start with a goal of finishing the Finals in the weeks before the Olympic games, the league may only have about eight weeks to do an entire offseason.
This process usually takes four months in a normal season, but these are anything but normal times. An anonymous team official believes that the Dec. 22 timeline is the best move, even if it is an extremely short turnaround, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“It may be too quick, but it also makes too much sense,” one high-ranking team official told The Athletic.
The NBA season beginning of December 22 would mean the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat getting an offseason spanning just 72 days, which is significantly shorter than the usual break for Finals bound teams.
However, it’s clear that this plan from the league goes beyond just the 2020-21 season. By starting in December, shortening the regular season, and finishing in July, the NBA increases the likelihood of returning to a completely normal schedule for the 2021-22 campaign.
Despite the ongoing conversations of moving the beginning of the season to Christmas time permanently, poor TV ratings might be enough to convince the league that the Finals should remain in June.
There is still so much to be figured out between the league and the players in the next eight weeks. Either way, it seems increasingly likely that late December will be when the 2020-21 season will kick off.
LeBron James told Anthony Davis there’s more work ahead
In the midst of a historically short turnaround time between seasons, the Lakers will be one of the two teams most affected. However, it’s rather impossible to count out James and Davis, who proved to be a duo on another level during the postseason.
James reportedly told Davis during the team’s championship celebration that there was more work to do for next season, which may be coming sooner than they anticipated.
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