NBA Rumors: Players Believe Dec. 22 Start For 2020-21 Season Is ‘Inevitable’
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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 season has been a topic of heated debate the past few weeks as the NBA and NBPA have attempted to negotiate for a resolution on several different issues.

The primary one has been the actual start date as the league has been pushing for a Dec. 22 tipoff while the players association is advocating for a mid-January start. Beginning the season earlier allows for more revenue via primetime television spots, but it would also mean less rest, especially for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers that played until mid-October.

The original proposal called for a 72-game season, but when those games start have been a sticking point for both sides. The NBA does not want to compete with the Olympics if they were to begin the 2020-21 season in January, and have countered with a condensed 50-game season.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Dec. 22 date seems to be a foregone conclusion:

The National Basketball Players Association is planning to hold a vote on Thursday night or Friday morning regarding the Dec. 22 start format to the 2020-21 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told The Athletic. The NBPA, led by executive director Michele Roberts, started formal conference calls with players from all 30 teams this week. Players have been holding calls with the NBPA beginning Monday and will go through Thursday morning. Players coming out of several meetings believe a Dec. 22 start is inevitable, sources said.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver warned time is running out on a deal to begin right before Christmas but it appears he and the league office will get what they want.

The potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue would hurt both sides and appears the players are not willing to risk further reduced salaries.

It is a complicated situation as the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hampered any predictions on future revenue sources. A vote is set to happen soon so it will be interesting to see if the two sides can agree on a deal.

Proposed schedule under Dec. 22 start

If a Dec. 22 start is approved, then the offseason will move incredibly quickly. Training camp would begin on Dec. 1, with plans of about three to four preseason games.

The 72-game schedule would likely include intraconference scheduling in order to ease the burden of travel as well as mitigating risk of contracting the coronavirus. From there, the playoffs would begin per usual with the league upholding the current format with the possibility of a play-in tournament.

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