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Report: NBA Weighing 2 Options for Start of 2020-21 Season

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The league and players association could decide on a start date this week.

2020 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The league and National Basketball Players Association continue to work towards finalizing a start date for the 2020-21 NBA season with the NBA Draft and NBA Free Agency looming. Two options — Dec. 22 and Jan. 18 — remain on the table. The Athletic’s Shams Charania (subscription required) provided additional details on the decision that the NBA and NBPA are currently weighing:

According to Charania, the NBPA is planning to vote on the proposed Dec. 22 start date on either Thursday night or Friday morning. Some players have reportedly campaigned for Jan. 18 over Dec. 22 as a start date, but league partners are interested in the revenue from games near Christmas:

The NBPA has told players on calls, as The Athletic has reported, that the financial ramifications of a December start loom large due to the television networks and league partners wanting a Christmas Day start, the Christmas week generating hundreds of millions of dollars of additional revenue, and the schedule returning to the normal October-June timetable for 2021-22.

A January start, meanwhile, would interfere with the 2021 Summer Olympics and affect advertisement sales for the networks.

Charania then outlined a general timeline for both proposed start dates. A Dec. 22 start would feature 72 regular-season games, while Jan. 18 would likely leave room for 60 regular-season games:

Dec. 22 start:
– Dec. 1 training camps begin for three weeks
– Three-to-four preseason games
– 72-game regular season
– 14 back-to-back games per team
– 25 percent reduction in travel
– All-Star Break for six days in early March
– Regular season ends around May 16
– Play-in tournament for the Nos. 7-10 seeds in the Eastern and Western Conference
– Playoffs begin around May 22– Finals finish around July 22

Jan. 18 start:
– Camp opens on Dec. 28, for three weeks
– Three-to-four preseason games
– 60-game regular season
– 12 back-to-back games per team
– 25 percent reduction in travel
– All-Star Break for six days beginning around April 9
– Regular season ends in June
– Play-in tournament for Nos. 7-10 seeds in Eastern and Western Conference
If 72 games:
– Playoff start around June 28
– Finals end around August 21-23

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week, the league is looking to implement a play-in tournament for the 7-10 seeds in each conference. The Portland Trail Blazers made the NBA Playoffs this past season after winning a play-in game against the No. 9 seed Memphis Grizzlies.

Stay tuned to Blazer’s Edge as we cover the league’s discussions regarding next season.