Predicting when the NBA will return is a fool’s errand for now. No one knows for sure and there are too many unknown variables with the COVID-19 pandemic.

That said, it is relevant when we get a peak at what the league and team front offices are thinking. Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force’s Guidelines for Business Reopening Working Group on Tuesday morning about a shift in the NBA’s potential timeline.

“Our league has decided that we’re going to try to get in as much of our season and playoffs as the data will allow us to,” Martins said via the Orlando Sentinel. “We’ll play as late as Labor Day if we have to and even delay, as was reported this past week, we’ve been having initial discussions about even delaying the start of next season based on trying to get as much of this season in as possible.”

The report Martins is referring to is from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski about the league discussing having the 2020-21 season start around Christmas. Commissioner Adam Silver has previously admitted the later into the summer they go, the more likely it is that next season’s timeline gets affected as well.

“As I look out into the summer, there does come a point at which we start impacting next season,” Silver said on April 6.

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Martins’ comments put on record the league’s current thinking about a timeline. While no one will say anything definitive about a return date because of the unknown nature of it, this does provide a glimpse into the most recent planning. Finishing around Labor Day could signal that the league is currently plotting for a July return if things fall into place.

Players on teams from some states are expected to be allowed to do individual workouts at team facilities starting Friday, which Martins referred to as Phase I. Martins said the next step is to gear up toward full team workouts and practices.

“In the meantime, our task force at the league is studying how do we get back to playing basketball again? And again, following the data, looking at every possible model," Martins said.

It’s been nearly eight weeks since the NBA season was suspended on March 11.

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