The 2020 NBA Draft is still more than three weeks away but, with reports circulating that the league and its Board of Governors are angling toward a late December start for the 2020-21 campaign, the basketball calendar is building to a potential frenzy. While there are clear reasons to speed up the process, ranging from financial considerations to the “reset” of the league’s usual schedule, there is also potential downside. One potentially negative repercussion would involve teams that made deep runs in the 2020 postseason being forced into a (very) quick turnaround, and the world champion Los Angeles Lakers would fit that bill as much as any single franchise.
To that end, Lakers wing Danny Green joined Raja Bell and Logan Murdock of The Ringer to discuss the potential for a pre-Christmas return. Within the interview, he was fairly candid about the potential for veteran players, headlined by LeBron James, to miss the start of the new season, even if healthy.
Lakers guard Danny Green on the proposed Dec. 22 start to next season:
"If we start in December, I think most guys [are like] 'I'm not going to be there… to have that quick of a restart, I wouldn't expect [LeBron] to be there for the 1st month of the season." pic.twitter.com/NYqNxzNEmZ
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) October 26, 2020
Though Green wasn’t necessarily speaking in absolutes, it absolutely makes sense that older players might not be thrilled about this kind of timeline. For a bit of perspective, the Lakers were grinding at the highest levels well into October and, with a proposed start date of Dec. 22, training camp would presumably have to open in early December. That means less than a two-month offseason and, given the rigors of the bubble environment, a shortened break might seem even more laborious.
The Lakers, as Green notes, are one of the older teams in the league, and that certainly matters in this discussion. Beyond that, teams like the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks have been on the sidelines since March, and they might not object to the new calendar with such vigor. Still, the potential for a draft on Nov. 18, a speedy free agent period and training camp before a Dec. 22 start could be seen as overzealous for players, and the potential for veterans on playoff squads, including stars like LeBron James, to sit out the beginning of the campaign is certainly worth noting and something the league will have to take into consideration.