The NBA’s bubble is going swimmingly in Orlando thus far, and there is plenty of buzz on how the remainder of the 2019-20 season will unfold. Everything is up in the air with regard to the 2020-21 season, however, with ongoing discussions between the NBA and NBPA on the salary cap machinations and much more. To that end, reports have swirled on the start of the 2020-21 season, with the NBA initially announcing a target date of Dec. 1 and recent rumblings that a delay could be inevitable due to the state of affairs with COVID-19 and the financial realities of the league.
On Thursday evening, much of the focus was on the NBA Draft Lottery but, in advance of the drawing itself, NBA commissioner Adam Silver shed light on the situation for next season and he didn’t stand firm with the early December target date.
Adam Silver told me the original plan to start next season Dec 1, is now "feeling a little bit early to me. Our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas…if we could push back even a little longer & increase the likelihood of having fans, that's what we would be targeting."
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 21, 2020
The NBA has shared that up to 40 percent of the league’s revenue comes from game-day operations, which would illuminate at least part of the league’s thinking with any delay. Beyond that, the 2019-20 season is scheduled to conclude in mid-October, meaning that an early Dec. target date was always optimistic on account of a (very) short offseason for teams making deep postseason runs.
At present, projecting a specific timeline for the start of the 2020-21 season seems like a fool’s errand, and even this statement from Silver was lacking in firm detail. Still, the fact that he was willing to say that Dec. 1 is “feeling a bit early” is likely a strong indication that a delay, of some length, is in the offing.