The NBA said next season would begin on Christmas at the earliest.
But get it straight: That’s a best-case scenario.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via CNN:
My best guess is that – even though, as you said, it will be the 2020-21 season – is that season won’t start until 21. We said a week or so ago that the earliest we’d start is Christmas of this year, but the more I’m learning – even listening to Dr. Fauci this morning – I continue to believe that we’re going to be better off getting into January. The goal for us next season is to play a standard season – the other part of your question – 82-game season and playoffs. And further, the goal would be to play games in home arenas in front of fans. But there’s still a lot that we need to learn in terms of rapid testing, for example. Would that be a means of getting fans into our buildings?
February seems like a reasonable expectation. But so much is changing with our handling of coronavirus. Predictions are weak at this stage.
Of course, the NBA wants to play a full 82-game season with fans at arenas. That’s how to most directly maximize revenue.
But when will it be safe for fans to attend games? How long will owners and players be content to wait while making practically no revenue? At some point, will it be better to play games and draw some revenue?
Assuming next season begins on a date the NBA doesn’t want to use as its start date going forward, how will the league get its annual calendar back on track if not reducing the schedule length? Fewer off days? Shorter offseason?
Like with many things, coronavirus creates many difficult complications.