Substantial Faction Of Players Pushing For Season To Start In January

A “substantial faction” of NBA players – including some stars – are pushing for the 2020/21 regular season to begin on Martin Luther King Day (January 18), rather than on December 22, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

As Haynes details, these players would also like to see free agency begin on December 1. Under the league’s current proposal, December 1 has been cited as a possible start date for training camps, with free agency expected to open as early as two or three days after the November 18 draft.

[RELATED: NBA Targeting December 22 Start, 72-Game Season]

Based on Haynes’ report, it’s not clear how many players are in favor of pushing the start date for the season back to January or which players are leading the charge. But it’s probably safe to assume that those who are advocating most strongly for a delay are members of teams that made playoff runs at Walt Disney World this summer. Presumably those players who have been off since March would welcome an earlier start.

When word broke on Friday that the NBA had changed course on its plans for the 2020/21 season and wanted to schedule opening night for December 22, financial reasons were cited as a major motivating factor. One report suggested that starting the season before Christmas could save the NBA $500MM in revenues that might otherwise be lost.

Saving the league’s December 25 showcase would benefit the league financially; so would playing the postseason in the spring and summer rather than going up against the start of the NFL season, as the league did this year. The NBA has also proposed a 72-game schedule, which would satisfy the criteria for teams’ local television contracts.

The National Basketball Players Association has to sign off on any proposal from the NBA, so if there’s a significant faction of players pushing for a January 18 start, they’ll have some leverage. However, if the league’s financial projections are accurate, there will likely be another significant faction of players who will favor the December 22 start. NBPA leadership will have to try to negotiate some sort of consensus among its members.

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8 thoughts on “Substantial Faction Of Players Pushing For Season To Start In January

  1. x%sure

    If the union works like a union, there will be a vote, and more players went uninvited than lasted deep in the tourney. Besides there is a compromise that better suits everyone’s preferences an gets money flowing in: Start it up and let players show up late if they want to.

    • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

      I certainly hope pro sports learned from the MLBPA vs. team owners pissing match from this year…

      • hiflew

        The NBA Player’s didn’t learn from previous MLBPA mistakes because they committed the same ones soon after. The late 90s strike that wiped out half the season following baseball’s 94 strike comes to mind.

  2. harden-westbrook-mvps

    The older guys like CP3 and LBJ will benefit the most from a later start.

  3. Appalachian_Outlaw

    It’d be interesting to know the figures for what constitutes a substantial faction. There comes a point though where there needs to be some fairness for the teams that haven’t played since March. Are they supposed to wait almost a year to play games?

    Also why push off free agency? Were those playoffs so draining that guys can’t pick up phones or pens now?

  4. Jason Lancaster

    72 games makes perfect sense – play every team in your division 4 times, and play every team in the other division 1 time. Toss in an extra game just because.

    Intra-division records are perfectly balanced, inter-division records are mostly balanced. AND you could probably eliminate back-to-backs.

    Hopefully the league and the players make 72 games the new ‘regular’ season.

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