Back in May, the NBA posited a Dec. 1 start date for the 2020-21 season. That would leave an extremely short offseason, but it would get the league back on its normal schedule sooner than later, and presumably wrap up the NBA calendar before the Olympics in the summer.
More recently, the league has floated the idea of a Christmas start date. Christmas always feels like the grand opening of the NBA season, the moment when football cedes control to basketball, whereas October and November are sort of a soft opening. The NBA debuted on Christmas in 2011-12 due to the lockout, and that was met with a great deal of fanfare.
In an interview on CNN on Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver is considering moving the start date back even further all the way into January (how does Opening Night on Martin Luther King Jr. Day sound?) with the goal of playing games in front of fans. The teams would still play a full 82-game schedule, which would allow the league to recoup some of the revenue that comes from hosting games in home markets. Silver has previously stated that 40 percent of league revenue comes from having fans in arenas.
Silver acknowledged that this set-up would require rapid testing for fans to enter arenas, something that the NBA has been working towards in a partnership with scientists at Yale University. Other leagues have been playing with fans in attendance, but the NBA is less willing to do so under the current conditions, given that their arenas are all indoors.
This calendar would also limit NBA players from participating in the Olympics, which would affect the entire tournament, not just Team USA. This would be a real disservice considering how many great international players there are in the league. If the NBA does overlap with the Olympics, perhaps the league could consider taking an Olympic break like the NHL or the WNBA.
More news for Wednesday:
- Michael Lee on how Kawhi Leonard can respond to his first real postseason failure.
- Katie Heindl has a really interesting take on the Clippers chemistry crisis.
- ESPN has some fake trades for the contenders this offseason, including one involving Lou Williams.
- Chicago hired Billy Donovan as its new head coach, leaving one less job opening for Ty Lue, Sam Cassell, and/or Chauncey Billups.