As expected, the NBPA voted Friday to unanimously approve the proposed restart of the NBA season, which will resume on July 31 at Disney World in Orlando and will include 22 teams and an eight-game regular season with a play-in tournament for the final playoff spots.
That schedule means the NBA Finals will go through mid-October, which subsequently entails a significant delay in the start of next season, as the league tries to figure out a way to fit in an offseason before another grueling 82-game schedule kicks off in earnest. The preliminary report was that the league tentatively planned on starting the 2020-2021 season on December 1.
According to the latest report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, however, the new season is “unlikely” to begin that soon, given that it would provide less than a month between the Finals and the start of training camp. There has been speculation that the league might shoot instead for a Christmas start date, although the NBA and the players’ union are still negotiating on that.
The NBPA told players on call today that the 2020-21 season starting on Dec. 1 is “unlikely” and plans to negotiate the date: https://t.co/OiSdQosgvU
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 5, 2020
The bubble scenario in Orlando will include a number of safety precautions amid the continued outbreak of COVID-19. Players will have to be tested daily, and although the league won’t shut down if someone tests positive, that player will have to enter a period of mandatory quarantine.
Resuming a full regular season so quickly after the Finals will present a number of other obstacles, all of which will have to be taken into account as the league tries to finalize the complex schematics of how it will move forward after a turbulent hiatus that will have long-lasting effects on the future of the NBA.