Although the NBA successfully managed to crown a champion during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is still plenty of speculation regarding how the 2020-21 season will pan out.
Despite the success of the Orlando bubble, it had been deemed a foregone conclusion that the league would face financial repercussions due to the ongoing pandemic. After a timetable was set for the 2020 NBA Draft and free agency, the league and NBPA came to an agreement for a December start to next season.
Commissioner Adam Silver backed off his anticipation of that not being until January 2021, and he and owners were adamant beginning the 2020-21 campaign prior to Christmas Day. It appears both sides did not have much of a choice if they hope to salvage the loss of revenue.
There was a belief within the NBA the league would face revenue losses of up to $1 billion if next season did not begin in December, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN:
The NBA believes there is somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion in revenue losses next season and beyond by failing to start the season in December, sources said.
After weeks of negotiating, the league and NBPA agreed to a 72-game season that begins on December 22. Additional details have not been finalized, but the anticipation is travel will be reduced due to teams not being in a bubble.
The NBPA had pushed back against the prospect of beginning the season so soon after the NBA Finals concluded. They voiced a preference for a mid-January start that coincided with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Teams that were fortunate enough to make a deep playoff run in Orlando could now be held to a significant disadvantage due to the circumstances. Regardless, it appears the prospect of losing out on this much money has promoted a sense of urgency on all sides.
Danny Green suggests LeBron James would miss time
The prospect of beginning the new season so soon after the Orlando bubble concluded in October has not sat well with all players. Los Angeles Lakers’ Danny Green is among those that have been open about the adjustments they would have to take in order to ensure that they are prepared.
Green even went so far as to suggest that LeBron James would sit out at least the first month before getting on the court. Though, Green later clarified that was more of a joke than actual expectation.
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