Echoing a sentiment expressed earlier this month by NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told CNN’s Bob Costas today that his “best guess” is that the league’s next season won’t begin until sometime in 2021 (Twitter link via Mark Medina of USA Today).
The NBA previously informed its Board of Governors that December 25 would be the earliest possible start date for the 2020/21 season. Christmas Day typically features an impressive slate of games that showcase many of the league’s best teams, making it a logical option for opening day. However, with the coronavirus pandemic still complicating plans to get fans back into arenas, another delay seems likely.
As Medina relays, Silver also said on CNN today that the NBA’s goal is still to play a “standard” 82-game schedule next season, preferably in teams’ home arenas in front of fans. It remains to be seen whether that will be possible though.
Even if the NBA is able to play a full 82-game season, starting it in January would ensure it runs far beyond the league’s typical end date, complicating the NBA’s ability to send players and coaches to the Tokyo Olympics, which are set to begin on July 23. There’s also no guarantee that 2020/21’s opening night won’t be postponed until February or March, a possibility that has been recently voiced by reporters and players alike.
For now, the NBA is focused on safely completing its 2019/20 season, which will conclude within about three weeks.