- The NBA is pushing for a 72-game regular season starting December 22nd.
- The NBA Players Association has publicly pushed back, citing the quick turnaround for playoff teams and the compressed off-season.
- The NBA projects, which kick off December 22nd, would bring in additional $ 500 million in revenue, close before the Olympics and bring the league closer to its traditional 2020-21 schedule.
- While teams that have made deep playoff runs worry about starting this soon, eight teams haven’t played since March and some others haven’t played since August.
- There is a belief that the money will win and the NBA will tip in December.
- You can find more stories on the Insider homepage.
In the days ahead, the NBA has a big question to answer: When does the next NBA season begin?
The NBA’s board of governors is reportedly pushing for a 72-game season to begin December 22nd to be played in home markets rather than in a bubble.
A notice dated December 22nd would cut the off-season to about five weeks.
1st has become a target date for training camps. The free agency would have to take place some time in between. The NBA draft is due to take place on November 18th. The training camp and preseason would extend over three weeks.
Dec. 1, I'm told, has emerged as the likely opening day for NBA training camps if the league's plan to set Dec. 22 as opening night of the 2020-21 season is approved by the union— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 27, 2020
And while there are benefits to starting on December 22nd, there is a disadvantage: the players.
The Los Angeles Lakers won the championship over the Miami Heat on October 11th. Training camps starting December 1st would give these two teams less than two months of off-season.
“I think most people when you say they start in December they say, ‘I won’t be there,'” Lakers veteran Danny Green said on The Ringer NBA Show podcast.
He added, “I just don’t expect guys to be there or willingly show up.”
that there is a “substantial faction” of players pushing for a start on January 18th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Yahoo Sources: Substantial faction of players and star players pushing for NBA season to start Jan. 18 — MLK Day — with a free-agency commencement of Dec. 1.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 28, 2020
Michele Roberts, the executive director of the NBA Players Association, told The Athletic’s Shams Charania that the players’ reactions to the plan have been negative.
“With all that needs to be resolved by December 22nd, and given the fact that there will be financial risk until a later launch date, it is common sense that things can be done on time,” Roberts told The Athletic . “Our players deserve the right to a runway so they can plan a take-off as soon as possible. The overwhelming response from the players that I received on this suggestion was negative. ”
The two sides have until October 30th – although Roberts said she doesn’t see it as a “drop dead” date – to figure out their plans. There are numerous sides to consider and various things at stake.
A December start can be more financially advantageous
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, the NBA lost a total of $ 1.8 billion over the past year, including lost games, gate revenue, goods and the aftermath of its strained relationship with China.
Die Asahi Shimbun / Getty Images
According to ESPN, the league repaid around $ 1.5 billion in the bubble, which cost $ 190 million. The league will face severe financial repercussions next season for playing the season without fans – 40% of its sales, according to commission Adam Silver.
According to Stein, the NBA projects, which begin in December instead of January, could generate sales of $ 500 million. An integral part of the December 22nd launch is for the NBA to keep their Christmas presentation.
Next season’s finances are already complex as the NBA reportedly plans to artificially raise the salary cap and tax cap. Lowering those two numbers to match last season’s lost revenue would penalize teams who did not intend to invest in the luxury tax and free agents who would enter an open market with little money.
The Olympic and summer factors
The sooner the NBA starts its season, the sooner it can close it and avoid competing with the NFL and the Olympics for a television audience.
The NBA would also like to clear the way for its top players to compete in Tokyo if the Olympics should still take place. This is also important for international players in the NBA.
The players have been talking loudly about wanting the summer off. Finishing on time for the Olympics also means the NBA can get closer to its traditional October-June schedule for the 2021-22 season.
The short off-season only applies to a few teams
As Green noted on The Ringer NBA Show, the Lakers may be in the minority in their desire to postpone the season.
While the Heat and the Lakers played until October 11, most of the other teams have been off since September. The Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics ended on September 26th and 27th. The second round playoffs were all completed by September 15.
The bubble has been a difficult experience for everyone involved, and leaving in September doesn’t mean these players have fully recovered. But such a quick turnaround isn’t uncommon – the 2016 Olympics roster won the gold medal on August 21, and NBA training camps began on September 27.
Some teams are hard to go
The eight teams that didn’t play in the Disney bubble – commonly known as “Delete Eight” – haven’t played basketball since March 11, when the NBA closed due to the pandemic.
These teams can complete individual training sessions in their training facilities and have held mini training camp bubbles.
However, an assistant coach on a Delete Eight team told Insider that “the sooner the better” next season is because the players are dying to play. The same coach noticed that the players looked in shape during the mini-camp, but their timing and feel for the game was wrong.
Additionally, six other teams invited to the bubble but failed to make the playoffs have been sitting around since mid-August. Those six teams only played basketball for about three weeks in seven months.
The NBA could reschedule its schedule to give some teams more peace of mind
Athletic’s Ethan Strauss suggested that when the NBA returns on December 22nd, they can subpoena the schedule with the teams that haven’t played the longest. At the beginning of the season, the “Delete Eight” teams, teams that did not make the playoffs, and teams that lost in the first round could be represented.
As Strauss has suggested, teams like the Lakers and Heat may stay “on hold” in anticipation of their season debuts later in the season.
Teams like the Lakers, Heat, Celtics and Nuggets could then slow down in training camp to protect the players from injury so they don’t boot up too early.
There is a feeling that money will win
The season delay is ultimately aimed at the eight teams that played beyond the first round of the playoffs.
Wojnarowski said in the “SportsCenter” that he believes the players’ union will grant the NBA sometime before Christmas.
“I think they’ll get there in the end. I don’t think there’s much leverage for the players’ association on this matter … If there’s $ 500 million more in sales before Christmas than playing from January and beyond, then ultimately it makes sense for players to join in. ”
Lowe made it clearer in ESPN’s “The Jump”.
“When money competes against the purity of the game, money wins, and money will win that too.”
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