The 2019-20 NBA season has come to an end after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals on Sunday. Now the question is when will next season begin? According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (per CBS Sports), the league is looking to start the 2020-21 season on Jan. 18, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Originally, the NBA planned to start the season on Dec. 1, but that is not going to happen.
Another challenge the league is looking into is the schedule. Hollinger noted the NBA is looking at playing multi-game series in order to cut down on travel and see how fast they can finish the season. And despite the later start, an 82-game season is still on the table. In September, NBA commissioner Adam Silver talked to CNN and said "the goal is to play a standard season." He said "the earliest we would start is Christmas of this year," but then added he believes the league will be "better off getting into January," with more COVID-19-related information available.
"I think our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. ... So my sense is, in working with the players' association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that's what we would be targeting," Silver said to ESPN in August. The next big event for the NBA is the draft which will be on Nov. 18. If the league starts the season in January, does that mean the All-Star game gets pushed back since it's scheduled for Feb. 12-14 in Indianapolis?
"The issue becomes, and the players have raised this, as well, in addition to the desire of many players to have some normalcy in the summer, they have families, kids," Silver said when talking to reporters in late September about getting back to a normal schedule. "Understandable, trying to find the right balance. The question is when do we get back on cycle. And I think even though there’s been discussions about us potentially on a regular basis post-COVID playing well into the summer, I think we’re learning a little bit more about our television audience as we are experimenting, and part of it is fewer people are watching television in the summer, different competition, especially when you get into the fall with the NFL, college football and all that. So that’s all into the mix, as well."