Could 2020-21 season start before Christmas Day?

NBA's Target Date for 2020-2021 Season Revealed

ESPN reported that Friday would be a deadline for talks and mark eight weeks before Christmas, NBA commissioner Adam Silver having said that there would be at least eight weeks between a union deal and the start of next season.

A person with knowledge of the situation says the NBA's board of governors is considering a December start to the 2020-21 season, with Dec. 22 being the initial target for opening night and the season being trimmed to about 70 games.

Talks between the National Basketball Association and the union have been productive to provide the necessary financial allowances for the wage cap and luxury tax thresholds for the 2020-2021 period to accommodate the massive loss of revenue due to the pandemic.

NBA Christmas day games historically have the highest ratings and fans in attendance. The league has made Christmas a five-game slate in recent years, primarily because of how many viewers tune in on the holiday.

While there are many logistical challenges involved with the coronavirus pandemic still ravaging the U.S. and in fact the rest of the world, there are some proponents in the league advocating an "early" start and a 72-game regular season to give players a chance to play in the 2021 Olympics. There are 24 teams left to compete for the final four spots in the men's basketball field for the Tokyo Games, with those qualifiers set to begin in June.

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Other options in the poll were to participate in alternate Halloween festivities or to cancel Halloween 2020 altogether. This one may be the cheapest yet the safest way to enjoy Halloween amid the trying times with the beloved ones.

The Athletic and ESPN, citing unnamed sources, said the league told team owners in a Friday conference call about the plans, which would require approval by the players union by the end of October.

Still, any December resumption of play would necessitate a serious time crunch to get rosters settled.

The NBA became the first pro league to suspend play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, doing so on March 11. It seems that based on the negotiations, a bubble format, similar to the one used in Orlando, Florida, to conclude the 2019-2020 season is off the table.

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