The exact start date to the 2020-21 NBA season is still up in the air, but there is no doubt that it will likely extend into next summer, putting it into conflict with the postponed Tokyo Olympics. Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports reports that prior to Game 2, Commissioner Adam Silver said it was “unlikely” that the league would stop play to allow players to participate in Tokyo.
“We’ll consider it. I think it’s unlikely, at the end of the day, that, if we start late, we would stop for the Olympics,” Silver said in an interview with NBA TV inside the league’s bubble at Walt Disney World Resort. “Because, as you know, it’s not just a function of stopping for the period in which they are competing over in Tokyo. But they require training camp, and then they require rest afterwards.”
Many players across the NBA participate in the Olympics, whether it is for Team USA or their national team. For international teams, losing their NBA stars could have an outsize impact on their ability to compete. Australia, for example, fields Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, and Aron Baynes among others from the league.
However, with no start date to the season and with coronavirus still active, this is all just speculation.
While things look bleak now, Silver admitted there’s no way to know how things will look next summer. If the coronavirus is under control, or a vaccine is widely available, perhaps the NBA and Olympics will be able to proceed as usual.
We shall see.