The National Basketball Association (NBA) has agreed, alongside its players union (NBPA), that the 2020/21 season will commence from December 22.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused reservations about when a suitable and safe time would be for NBA players to return to the court, however, discussions appear to have reached its conclusion for a pre-Christmas start.
The league outlined its plans of kickstarting the campaign in December, with a reduced schedule of just 72 games, as opposed to its regular 82 game seasons. It is understood that the NBPA believed a January start would be more desirable from a player care perspective after the NBA finals only took place in October, therefore not allowing for the normal preparation time between seasons.
An NBPA statement confirmed that it had ‘tentatively approved’ the December 22 start date, with teams likely to begin training camps from December 1.
ESPN reported that the NBA were weighing up the options for a possible January start, believing it would provide more time for fans to be welcomed back into stadiums again, with a predicted US$4 billion revenue loss expected if the entire season was played out behind closed doors.
It is probable that the NBA will now move to discuss with local governments about the allowance of spectators to return to arenas, in order to avoid the bubble format that was used to conclude last season after it was halted due to the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report from The Athletic, the NBA is eager for arena suites to be opened up to fans at a 25 to 50 per cent capacity, based upon the local regulations in place. It has not yet been confirmed but to have fans back inside of venues is an aspiration that the NBA has for the beginning of the season.
Author: Jake Wilkin