REPORT: The NBA Will Decide Next Season's Start Date This Week

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REPORT: The NBA Will Decide Next Season’s Start Date This Week

Chicago Bulls

The NBPA will vote later this week on when to start the 2020-21 season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Discussions between the two sides have ramped up since the conclusion of the previous season on October 11th. During this time, the Board of Governors has grown to favor a December 22nd start date mostly due to the fact that it can reportedly net the league anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, the players association has pushed for a January 18th start, which would provide players a longer offseason after a physically and mentally straining bubble experience.

Both sides have good reasons to favor their respective viewpoint, but Charania did write that sources said: “players coming out of several meetings believe a Dec. 22 start is inevitable.” I wouldn’t be too shocked to ultimately see a good chunk of players opt for the league’s proposal, as it would save everyone the most money in the long run as well as put the institution back on a familiar calendar for the 2021 season. Not to mention, a January 18th start likely wouldn’t allow for players to compete in the 2021 Olympics.

For a better understanding of how each season would look under the proposed start dates, here’s what The Athletic shared:

Dec. 22 start:
– Dec. 1 training camps begin for three weeks, with three-to-four preseason games
– 72-game regular season
– 14 back-to-back games per team
– 25 percent reduction in travel
– All-Star break for six days in early March
– Regular season ends around May 16
– Play-in tournament for the Nos. 7-10 seeds in the Eastern and Western Conference
– Playoffs begin around May 22
– Finals finish around July 22

Jan. 18 start:
– Camp opens on Dec. 28, for three weeks, and three-to-four preseason
– 60-game regular season
– 24 back-to-back games per team
– 25 percent reduction in travel
– All-Star Break for six days beginning around April 9
– Regular season ends in June
– Play-in tournament for the Nos. 7-10 seeds in the Eastern and Western Conference
– Playoff start around June 28
– Finals end around August 21-23

Obviously, the two proposed plans have some major differences, the biggest of which is the number of games played. A 60-game season could throw certain regional television network deals for a loop, let alone be quite a different feel for fans across the league. The number of back-to-backs on the player’s proposal is noteworthy too, as it’s 10 more than we’d see with a December 22nd start.

Also, I know it sounds silly, but ending in late August is way different than ending in late July. Not only have rumored swirls that players want their summers back, but the league wants to avoid as much summer air time as possible. Ratings in today’s world aren’t everything, but the league did struggle to gain some attention during the recent summer stint.

The one thing each proposal has in common is the addition of an expanded play-in tournament. If the league went with what they’re discussing right now, the Bulls would have been in the Orlando bubble last season, as No. 7-10 will reportedly compete for a playoff spot.

The other point of contention between the NBA and NBPA has to do with the player payment escrow amount. To no surprise, the league wants to withhold a higher percentage of the player’s contract at 25 percent, whereas the NBPA is reportedly pulling for 15. For a better idea of what that entails, make sure to give Charania’s report a read.

What this boils down to is we will either have a pre-Christmas start date or a mid-January start date decided this week. Both hold entirely different implications for the league’s future, but we’ll cross that bridge when a decision is made. I’m just happy we’ll finally have some clarity.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.