The biggest question on the mind of every basketball fan in the past few days has been when the next season of the NBA would begin. The 2019-20 campaign only concluded on October 11 and there were rumblings of the league pushing a tip-off to 2021. However, an NBA news update today stated that officials were discussing the possibility of a Christmas return.
As reported by Shams Charania, 22 December 2020 has been officially set as the target date for the commencement of the 2020-21 season.
NBA News Update: 72-game regular season planned with entire campaign concluding before 2021 Olympics
Given how the seeding games were planned for the NBA restart last season, most teams ended up playing 72 or 73 regular-season games. A similar route is being taken this time around with 72 games set to be played during the regular phase of the 2020-21 NBA season.
The general idea behind this decision is that it would potentially lead to the conclusion of the entire campaign prior to the 2021 Olympics, thereby allowing star players to represent the USA in the quadrennial tournament.
Charania added the following about the situation regarding the Olympics:
"USA Basketball has begun reaching out to star players to gauge their interest in the Olympics, should the end date of the 2020-21 season provide ample time to prepare for the Games, sources said."
NBA News Update: League wants to continue with play-in tournament
A play-in tournament was introduced last season to determine which team would qualify for the playoffs as the eighth seed in either conference. The plan is to continue with that as well. Charania reported:
"The NBA wants to continue to incorporate the play-in tournament that was utilized in the Orlando restart to determine the eighth seed in the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs, according to sources."
Any proposal put forward by the NBA office would have to be approved by the National Basketball Players' Association. But a start date prior to Christmas would please several of the league's stakeholders, especially their broadcast partners.
Published 24 Oct 2020, 01:09 IST