NBA Reportedly Targeting December Start for 2020-21 Season

Tanya Simon
October 26, 2020

The NBA also is discussing tournament and play-in scenarios, per ESPN, so there's plenty for the league to iron out.

A start date was just one item on the agenda at Friday's meeting of the league's Board of Governors, along with discussions about fan attendance amid the pandemic and the possibility of playing fewer than 82 games, ESPN reported.

A pre-Christmas start allows the NBA's television partners - ESPN and Turner - to further realize the value of broadcast partnerships.

The Dec. 22 date, which the league informed its Board of Governors about earlier today, represents a shift from what Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reported yesterday; a January 18, Martin Luther King Day debut. And if it's serious about playing games on Christmas Day, time is of the essence.

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October 30 is setting up to be a key date.

The NBA Finals concluded on October 11 - four months later than the 2019 NBA Finals, which the Toronto Raptors wrapped up on June 14. The NBA is reportedly aiming for the 2020-21 season to begin shortly before Christmas Day. Commissioner Adam Silver has told the union that there would be at least eight weeks between an agreement and the official start of next season. Regardless, many players are anxious for a return to normalcy and if there is any league that can provide that, it would most certainly be the National Basketball Association.

The ongoing talks are focused on an increased deposit of the players' salaries. The league and union are still awaiting full audits on the Basketball Related Income that accounts for the league's 51-49 revenue split with players. This allows for teams, agents and players to have more time to prepare for the financial realities of the pandemic's impact on the league. The NBA draft is scheduled for November 18 and it remains unclear when free agency - which typically follows the draft - would take place. Based on this schedule, the season would end in July, right before the Olympic Games.

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