Last week, we heard that the NBA was tentatively circling July 31 on its calendar as a target date for the resumption of the 2019/20 season. Today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides another important detail on the NBA’s proposed timeline, tweeting that the league is eyeing October 12 as the last possible date for Game 7 of the 2020 Finals.
Wojnarowski notes in a follow-up tweet that the league is still working through details on its return-to-play plan with the NBPA. As such, it’s not clear whether that October 12 date is part of the tentative proposal for now, or if it’s just the latest possible Game 7 date that has been discussed, out of a handful of possibilities.
The NBA intends to bring a proposal to its Board of Governors on Thursday for a vote, so the details of the plan will likely need to be finalized soon.
During the first month or two following the suspension of the season, reports suggested that the NBA preferred not to have the 2019/20 season run beyond Labor Day. The new timeline reflects the league’s changing stance on that issue.
The NBA has seemingly become more willing to start the 2020/21 season much later than usual in the hopes that by the time opening night arrives, fans will be allowed back in arenas. Given how much revenue is generated from ticket sales and in-arena purchases, the league likely won’t be in any rush to begin next season until states have lifted bans on large gatherings, at least to some extent.
If the season runs into early October, 2020’s draft and free agency period likely wouldn’t take place until mid-to-late October at the earliest. It also seems unlikely that the ’20/21 campaign will tip off before Christmas.