After some fear circulating that there may ultimately be a lockout for the 2020-2021 NBA season with an 18% league-wise escrow in player’s salaries, a new collective bargaining agreement, and a ton of lost revenue due to the implications of COVID-19, we are indeed going to have the basketball back – and sooner than expected.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA and NBPA have agreed on a December 22nd start to the 2020-2021 NBA regular season, which will see all thirty teams play 72 games each, and then have The Playoffs proceed as normal. Teams will be able to play in their home markets, with the possible lone exception of the Toronto Raptors, since the Canada-US border remains closed. Fans will be allowed in arenas with limited capacity and strict protocols, aiming for between 25% and 50% attendance. Whether The Playoffs will be played out in a bubble format is yet to be determined, and probably won’t be until a later date.
That leaves teams and players with only 47 days to get ready for next season, making this the shortest offseason in recent league history. Part of why there is such a rush is to get onto next season is so that players will be able to compete for their respective countries in the 2021 Sumer Olympics in Tokyo.
With the NBA Draft looming 13 days away on November 18th, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the NBA wants to begin training camp as early as December 1st, that leaves less than two weeks for teams to figure out their key free agency decisions and round out their rosters. It helps that the 2020 free agent class is weaker than most, however teams will be just as busy trying to prepare their rosters for next season. New additions and rookies will also have to get acclimatized to their new environments more quickly than what is typically expected.
The next month-or-so is going to be hectic for everyone in the NBA universe. Regardless, everyone will be happy about one thing. We’re gong to have basketball on Christmas this year.