NBA players have agreed to a league proposal to begin the 2020-21 season on December 22nd and to play a 72-game season. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeted out the news this evening.
The NBPA player rep vote has completed, approving a December 22 start/72-game regular season, source tells ESPN. Next up: NBA/NBPA finishes financial terms on amended CBA, which will take into next week. Expect trade moratorium to be lifted shortly prior to Nov. 18 Draft.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2020
The start date had been under contention, with players reportedly favoring a later start to the season, extending an off-season disrupted by COVID-19. The Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA Championship in mid-October. The new season will commence barely two months after.
This week, the NBA made clear that a later start to the season, omitting televised games during Christmas week, would come with a steep financial price tag. The league also intimated that a late start would slash games, perhaps as low as 50 for the season. This would impact player salaries severely. They are apportioned by regular-season games played.
The Christmastime start will create a compacted, flurry-filled seven-weeks for the entire league. The 2020 NBA Draft is scheduled for November 18th. Training camps will open the first week of December. The free agency period, normally extending between July and October, will be conducted during the two-week span between the draft and training camps.
Buckle up and stay tuned.
Wojnarowski is also indicating that an early start to free agency is critical to the process.
The NBA and NBPA are expected to discuss moving up the start of free agency as early as possible to accommodate players joining new teams so close to a Dec. 1 start of training camps, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2020
The NBPA has issued a statement confirming the announcement.