NBA Discussing Starting 2020-21 Season on Christmas Day

By in Sports on
5 Minute Read
  • NBA reportedly discussing the possibility of starting the 2020-21 season on Christmas Day
  • Adam Silver had previously said that a January start is the most likely scenario
  • Any plan approved by the league would need to be brought to the Players Association for approval

Since the Los Angeles Lakers knocked off the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals earlier this month, the primary question surrounding the league has been: When will the 2020-21 season start?

At a press conference during the Finals, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the league may not begin its next season until January. That’s because the league and NBA Players Association still have to negotiate the terms under which next season will be played. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the league will almost surely have to begin the new campaign with games taking place in front of largely empty arenas.

Obviously, the lack of fans in attendance has a negative effect on the NBA’s financial bottom line. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA plans to pitch the NBPA on a plan to begin the 2020-21 season around Christmas, if possible. The league may consent to a plan to play fewer than 82 regular-season games as a way to try and offset financial losses caused by the pandemic.

NBA Eyeing Christmas?

The NBA reportedly wants to try and have games on Christmas Day, which has recently become an NBA showcase holiday much like Thanksgiving for the NFL. A number of teams have apparently said that they are unsure that starting that soon is realistic, and those teams have been pushing the league to instead consider starting around Martin Luther King Jr. Day in mid-January.

Silver said last month that the NBA’s goal is to play a full 82-game season with fans in attendance, but that aspiration was admittedly not all that realistic given the way the virus is still spreading uncontrolled around the country.

Some team owners around the league have recently started to consider getting next season started sooner than January, though some others want to wait until at least some fans will be allowed to attend games.

The NBA is also discussing the possibility of playing an in-season tournament with playoff play-in scenarios. The league had already been planning some kind of special showcase to celebrate the league’s 75th anniversary in an attempt to generate new sources of revenue, according to Wojnarowski.

Any Plan Needs Player Approval

Any agreement reached by the teams and the league would then have to be submitted to the Players Association for approval. The two sides have reportedly met a number of times since the end of the 2019-20 season, which concluded earlier this month after a long hiatus that shut the league down back in March.

Wojnarowski says that October 30 is setting up to be a crucial day for negotiations. The league and NBPA agreed that that would be the deadline for discussions on modifying the collective bargaining agreement for next season. The league or the NBPA would have to give the other side 45 days’ notice if they planned to terminate the agreement, which is seen as an unlikely outcome at this point.

The date also marks eight weeks until Christmas. Silver has said that the league would need at least eight weeks between an agreement and the beginning of next season. Both sides are working on ways to offset revenue losses, including the potential for players to have escrow taken from their salaries.

Shorter Season?

One plan put forth by the league has been to play a 72-game season, which may limit the number of back-to-backs on the schedule. The league is also planning to have teams play in their home arenas as opposed to going back to the bubble-style format we saw the league successfully pull off in Orlando.

However, there could be difficulties with the Toronto Raptors, as travel between the US and Canada remains restricted. The Canadian government denied the Toronto Blue Jays in their quest to stage home games in Toronto during the baseball regular season, which temporarily forced the team to play games in Buffalo, New York.

The NBA draft is still slated to get underway on November 18, with free agency set to begin shortly thereafter.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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