While the NBA restart is currently in its training camp phase, lost in the excitement of resuming the 2019-20 season is what will happen next season. This coronavirus-interrupted campaign will end sometime in October, which has the league working on the 2020-21 season. It was originally scheduled to begin in October. That will not happen.
For the past three months or so, the NBA has worked diligently on piecing together the restart. Teams will begin play on July 30 with eight “seeding” games, which essentially serve to complete the regular season.
Plenty of thought went into how many teams would participate (22) and how the league could use the idea of a play-in tournament. When it is all said and done, the last possible date for a Game 7 in the NBA Finals is October 13.
Free agency is scheduled to begin on October 18. At that point, all of the financials and projections for the 2020-21 season will need to be available. Commissioner Adam Silver and the 30 team owners have come up with a target date for the beginning of next season – Dec. 1.
That could change, but the hope is to start next season at the beginning of December. That means players are going to have to participate in a training camp in November. If you’re doing the math, that means there will be at least two teams that will have barely a month off (probably less) before they start another season.
A date for starting next season isn’t even the biggest hurdle the league is facing. The first, of course, is how to play in this new coronavirus world. Will fans be permitted in arenas? Will next season have to be played in a bubble?
Other problems include how the owners and players work out a deal to financially operate the league. With a decline in revenue, something has to give to keep all 30 NBA teams afloat for the 2020-21 season.