While some other top basketball leagues around the world are setting deadlines to decide the fate of their 2019/20 seasons, the NBA is increasingly willing to be patient as it considers if and when to resume its own season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said this week during an appearance on SportsCenter (video link).
Previous reports have indicated that the NBA would prefer not to have the current season run beyond August or early September. However, Wojnarowski suggests that the league’s timeline is becoming more flexible.
“More than ever, I think this is a league that is really willing to push the calendar on this season,” Wojnarowski told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. “I had reported (previously) that the league wanted to have the Finals wrapped up ideally by Labor Day weekend. They’re more willing than ever to delay the start of next season.”
As Wojnarowski explains, one key factor influencing the NBA’s thinking is the fact that it could be a while before teams can host games with fans in attendance. If clubs are still required to play behind closed doors in the fall, there would be less incentive for the league to push to start next season at its usual time. In that scenario, delaying opening night could increase the odds of being able to play more games next season in front of fans.
“If they were going to start at the normal time, mid-to-late October, it’s hard to imagine that there would be fans in the stands,” Woj said. “And so I think as much time as they can buy for themselves, the league is willing to do that right now. They’re trying to look at everything. This isn’t just, ‘Let’s figure out the next couple months and this season.’ This is a two-, three-, four-year look moving forward.”
Based on Wojnarowski’s report, it sounds as if the idea of finishing the current season in the fall and starting the 2020/21 campaign in December – or maybe even later – isn’t out of the question.
We’re still a ways off from getting a real sense of what a reshaped NBA schedule might look like for the next couple years, but Woj’s report echoes a point we’ve heard repeatedly since the league suspended its season seven weeks ago — the NBA is willing to think outside the box and consider a wide variety of possible scenarios as it weighs all its options.