The NBA’s Board of Governors is currently working through a plan and proposal for the 2020-21 season that would bring the start of the season back to December 22, saving the coveted Christmas Day slate, which is a major revenue driver for the league.
That proposal must be approved by the NBPA, and the pitch to them seems centered around a pair of things: they get to keep their summers off and keeping Christmas Day brings a lot of money into the fold. Still, there’s going to be pushback from some players in the league, particularly those that just finished a long playoff run in the Orlando Bubble and would be asked to restart play less than three months later — with less than two months from the end of the Finals to the start of training camp.
On Wednesday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports brought word that a number of stars and players will be pushing for an MLK Day start date on January 21, with free agency pushed back to Dec. 1. It had previously said that free agency could be as early as Nov. 20 with a December start date.
Yahoo Sources: Substantial faction of players and star players pushing for NBA season to start Jan. 18 — MLK Day — with a free-agency commencement of Dec. 1.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 28, 2020
It’s going to be very interesting to see how the negotiations between the league and players go, because it’s clear that players are going to need to be sold further on a Christmas start date. This is, of course, all part of players using their leverage in this situation, given that next year’s salary cap is still up in the air and just about everything is on the table. If the league is insistent on a Christmas start, which is clearly a play for a big financial windfall, the players will need to be sold on that by way of assurances that money from the Christmas Day games would find its way back to the players in the form of buoying the cap for next season.
We’ve already heard from Danny Green that he wouldn’t expect Lakers vets to play immediately if the season started in December, and now it seems other players are not too keen on such a quick turnaround. For those hoping for a resolution on all of this to come soon, this seems to indicate there might be more of a fight — or at least some serious discussion and back and forth — that might drag on into November.