The 2020-21 NBA season figures to be fast approaching, but details about starting date and what things will actually look like remain to be sorted out.
The NBA and Players Association have continued to push back the date to re-negotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which came and went on Friday without anything tangible.
Because of this, the deadline was moved once again to Nov. 6, giving everyone involved one extra week. It will be an extremely important week, as negotiations appear to be a stalemate, with team governors worried about massive potential revenue losses over postponing the season and not having fans in attendance.
While some things are close to an agreement, there still remains a wide gap between the NBA and Players Association over the start date and other financial aspects, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The NBA and NBPA are still at odds over a start date to the season, with the union resisting thus far a league plan to open a shortened 72-game regular season on Dec. 22 and complete the NBA Finals before the Summer Olympics in July, sources said.
Significant gaps remain between the NBA and NBPA on how the league will account for reductions in players’ salaries in light of the significant financial losses for 2019-20 and steeper projections of losses next year, sources said.
The NBA’s desire to start before Christmas is certainly understandable. The earlier they start, the more game they would be able to play before ending the season in mid-July, which appears to be the latest they can end things due to the 2021 Summer Olympics.
In addition, they would be able to play on Christmas, which is one of the NBA’s most popular days of the regular season. It would also give them the flexibility to begin the 2021-22 season on time in October without having to shorten the schedule significantly.
On the players side, starting the season so soon after the completion of the year-long 2019-20 season would be far from ideal. A mid-January start allows the players to have a close to full offseason, especially for the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, who finished playing games in mid-October.
50-game season may be only option with January start date
If the players get their way and the season starts in mid-January — around Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the NBA believes that they would only be able to complete a 50-game schedule.
Due to pressure from broadcasting partners to end the season before the Olympics begin, a January start would give the NBA six months to complete a regular season and playoffs. A regular 82-game and playoff calendar takes about eight months.
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