The NBA and its players union continue negotiations on when to start the 2020-21 season, with a scenario focused on a start date in late December that includes Christmas games and a shortened schedule that would allow players to compete in the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
Some people participating in the negotiations and who requested anonymity assured this Friday that a possible scenario among the owners would be to start the season on or before Christmas Day, with a season of 72 games that it would conclude in time for the players to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics.
The National Association of Players of Basketball (NBPA), the union representing the players, has not accepted any proposal from the League Board of Governors, said a source close to the talks.
Several people not authorized to speak publicly on the subject said that the fact that the season begins on or near Christmas could be an exaggeration, but that is an ideal time if possible.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in late September, as the 2020 NBA Finals kicked off, that a likely start to the season would be as early as 2021But he did not rule out Christmas as a target date. “My best guess is that that season won’t start until 2021. We said a week or so ago that the earliest we’ll start will be Christmas this year,” Silver said of the upcoming season on Sept. 23.
The most frequently mentioned date for the start of the new season is around Martin Luther King Day weekend, in January, according to several people.
A scenario that was being discussed is another bubble situation, but very different from the one that has just been completed in Orlando (Florida), where the Lakers won the 17th franchise championship. That proposal would create five bubbles across the country with six teams in each bubble.
The only date set in the next NBA schedule is the 2020 NBA Draft, which will take place virtually on November 18.
The league and union are expected to negotiate next week, when the parties will have to agree on the framework for the NBA’s immediate financial future. Before the 2020-21 season can begin, the NBA will have to set the salary cap while determining the dates to perform signings.