When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reached the NBA in March, requiring the season to be suspended, there was no telling if or when play was going to resume.
After multiple months passed, the NBA and NBPA agreed to a restart in a bubble environment at Walt Disney World. It required a balance between number of teams participating and player health and safety.
So the NBA invited 22 teams, titled in favor of more Western Conference teams due to the race for the No. 8 playoff seed being more competitive. Teams are in the process of playing seeding games and will eventually transition into the playoffs.
The current season is slated to run through Oct. 13, when a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals would be played. There is speculation the 2020-21 season could begin as soon as early December.
However, according to Alex Silverman of Morning Consult, the NBA was recently said to be evaluating multiple options:
Three weeks ahead of the NBA’s planned resumption of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort, the league’s Global Innovation Group is considering several scenarios for next season, including one that would begin in March and run through October 2021.
Under such a plan, the league would also consider breaking in July for the Olympics, in which top NBA players typically participate, and resuming the regular season in August. The team behind the document notes that having a midseason Olympic break could impact competitive balance among NBA teams, as some players would be traveling overseas and playing additional games in the middle of the season, while others would have more than two weeks off.
While a March start date is on the table, it appears the other scenarios still have the 2020-21 season beginning in December:
The three other scenarios all call for the season to begin in December and run through July 2021 and vary based on the state of the pandemic.
The NBPA has already come out and stated that a Dec. 1 start date is unlikely given all the issues and logistics that need to be ironed out in the coming months, so if the league were to start next season in December it would have to be later in the month.
A March launch seems more feasible as it will give teams a proper break and allow teams more time to prepare for the year. However, the Olympics issue is a unique one that may force the NBA to utilize G League players or find another solution so as not to upset the season’s competitive balance.
Despite all the hurdles, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still remains the largest problem and it will ultimately determine what the league will be able to do about next season.
NBA succeeding with bubble
As the NBA continues to screen players on a daily basis, its latest update again produced no positive test results.
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