In a normal year, the NBA season would already be underway. Several weeks of games would have finished and the teams would find themselves well on their way to the end of one month of play. However, this is not a normal season. As it stands now, The Finals just finished several weeks ago, and sports are still not back to the way they were last year. In fact, it was not until this past week that we knew what the plan was for the 2020-2021 NBA season.
On Thursday of last week, the National Basketball Players Association board of representatives voted on a plan to play the 2020-2021 NBA season. This plan includes a 72-game schedule with a start to the season on Dec. 22, 2020. By starting at this time, the league believes that there will be enough time to finish the 72-game season and the postseason before the Summer Olympics in July of next year. As of now, specific details remain to be negotiated. However, in a statement, the NBPA said that it feels “confident that the parties will reach agreement on these remaining issues relevant to the upcoming season.” As of now, the NBA and the NBPA are planning to discuss opening free agency very soon after the NBA draft, which occurs on Nov. 18, because training camps will begin on Dec. 1.
With a start date of Dec. 22, there will be only 71 days between the end of one season and the beginning of the next. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the fewest days off between the ending of one season and the beginning of the next in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history. While this might seem like a problem, and it might be for a few of the teams, six of the teams have not played since March, six teams have not played since the middle of August and eight of the teams have not played since late August or early September.
The short offseason has caused some discussion among the players as to whether they will actually want to play after some teams had just over two months off. Lakers’ guard Danny Green had this to say about whether he thought LeBron James would play at the start of the season: He has “been to the Finals 10 years out of his 17 years, which is unbelievable mentally. It’s draining to do that. To have that quick of a restart, I wouldn’t expect to see him there. I wouldn’t expect to see him probably for the first month of the season. He’ll probably do some working out with us, he’ll probably do some playing, but I just don’t expect guys to want to be there or show up willingly.”
While all the players might not start out the season like they would in a normal season, the 2020-2021 NBA season will be beginning soon. Basketball will be back. Another professional sport will start a new season in the midst of the greatest changes to the atmosphere of sports in a long time.