The NBA Board of Governors met today to discuss the start and format of the 2020-21 season. ESPN columnists Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe reported on the meeting this morning.
Start date for the season is one of the primary matters under consideration. It is not without contention.
There has been some discussion among owners about starting as soon as Christmas Day to take advantage of that historically prime NBA showcase, sources said. Numerous teams contacted by ESPN over the past several days weren’t sure such a timeline was feasible. Others have been pushing for a start around Martin Luther King Day weekend in mid-January, sources said.
The presence (or absence) of fans during the COVID-19 pandemic is a contributing factor, with voices advocating in multiple directions: start without fans, with limited fan presence, or delay until fans can be admitted with safety precautions.
Windhorst and Lowe suggest October 30th is a key date for negotiations. That’s the deadline for the league or the players’ union to provide notice if either intends to terminate the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. The two parties have also agreed to an eight-week minimum lead up to starting the season. There are roughly eight weeks between the end of October and Christmas.
The 2020-21 salary cap, and any special provisions therein for the unusual circumstances, remain under discussion as well. Those numbers will be necessary before free agency and the trade season commence.
Shams Charania of The Athletic says the NBA is targeting December 22nd as the start date for the season and that they’re looking at a 72-game campaign.
Wojnarowski says a play-in tournament is in play.
The NBA is planning to continue discussions with NBPA on 2020-2021 start plans that would include an opening night in the days prior to Christmas, 70-to-72 regular season games and a play-in tournament, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/aTobRpe9tZ— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 23, 2020
Also baseball-type series are on the table, plus eliminating the All-Star Game
Another potential casualty of the 2020-2021 season and the coronavirus, sources tell ESPN: The All-Star Game. The event is scheduled for Indianapolis. No final decision has been made.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 23, 2020
Sources: NBA and Board Governors continued discussion on call today about playing something resembling more of a baseball series to limit travel outside of bubble. For example, a team might travel to New York and play its two road games against Knicks and one vs. Nets. https://t.co/ObuqSkNXCB— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 23, 2020
Because approximately two-thirds of the league’s current jurisdictions still aren’t allowing large gatherings of people – as well as the ominous current trajectory of the virus – the NBA has become less apt to delay start of season and wait on return of fans, sources said. https://t.co/owCgERQOEX— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 23, 2020