Now that the 2019-20 season is officially in the books, the basketball world is awaiting what will happen with the 2020-21 season.
The upcoming campaign is filled with questions like what the salary cap situation will look like as well as how the draft and free agency will work since they are so close to each other. However, the biggest question is when the 2020-21 season will actually take place as there are numerous factors to consider.
Commissioner Adam Silver previously announced that the league would like to play a full 82-game schedule with fans in home arenas, but the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is making that seem hopeful at best. The league was incredibly careful during the bubble, but planning for a normal season without the benefit of an isolated campus is several degrees more difficult.
The NBA reportedly prefers to start the season right before or on Christmas Day, but an Opening Night tipoff on Martin Luther King Jr. day is also in consideration, according to Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN:
There has been some discussion among owners about starting as soon as Christmas Day to take advantage of that historically prime NBA showcase, sources said. Numerous teams contacted by ESPN over the past several days weren’t sure such a timeline was feasible. Others have been pushing for a start around Martin Luther King Day weekend in mid-January, sources said.
Christmas Day has always been one of the league’s most important days for basketball games, but MLK Day also makes sense as a start date given it falls on Jan. 18 and would allow the players and front offices extra time to prepare. Silver has acknowledged that a mid-December start was always the goal, but admitted January was more likely given the current circumstances.
The reasoning for an earlier start date is tied directly to the 2021-22 season as the league is hoping to go back to its normal October to June calendar season, so hopefully a resolution is reached sooner rather than later.
LeBron James praises all parties involved to make bubble work
Although the start of the 2020-21 season is in limbo, there should be confidence that a reasonable decision is made thanks to the collaboration between the NBA and NBPA to get the bubble up and running.
LeBron James was complimentary of how the process was handled and offered his praise after the Finals. “I commend Adam Silver and the NBA, Michele Roberts, Chris Paul and everybody at the NBPA to make this happen and to make this work,” James said.
“I think we can all say from the social injustice conversations, the voter suppression, police brutality, to have this platform, have our players be able to unite like that, it’s something that you will miss. You will think back on it.”
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