The Los Angeles Lakers are less than three weeks removed from winning the franchise’s 17th championship. However, they may have to start their title defense on much shorter notice than the average champions.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the playoffs ran from August-October, much later than the usual April-June. Because of this, the start of the 2020-21 season had to get pushed back.
And while many thought that the delay could go as late as March 2021, it is now looking like Dec. 22 may be the potential start date for next season. This means that training camp must start a few weeks before that, essentially correlating with NBA free agency.
While absolutely nothing is set in stone, it is looking more and more like training camp will begin once the calendar turns to December, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times:
Dec. 1, I'm told, has emerged as the likely opening day for NBA training camps if the league's plan to set Dec. 22 as opening night of the 2020-21 season is approved by the union
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 27, 2020
The NBA has not set an official start date for free agency, but with the Draft occurring on Nov. 18, the time between free agency and the beginning of training camps is going to be very short.
It’s clear that the offseason is happening on a truncated timeline in order to restore the schedule back to complete normalcy by the 2021-22 season. The league learned the hard way that postseason games in September and October don’t bring the same viewership as they do in May and June.
The teams most affected by the reported Dec. 1 decision are the Lakers and the Miami Heat, who will only have a one and a half month offseason, as compared to some teams who have not played a game since March.
Danny Green suggests LeBron James would not play first month of season
If the NBA does follow through with the plan of starting on Dec. 22 and opening training camps on Dec. 1, Lakers guard Danny Green suggested that LeBron James may sit out the first month of the season.
He also said that a whole host of Lakers and Heat veterans may take time off at the start of the season to recuperate from a long championship run.
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