The NBA and the NBAPA took their first official step forward on Thursday, announcing a tentative 72-game schedule that would begin in late December.
Some prominent players initially floated the idea of an MLK Day opener, but the January 18 start date would have reduced the schedule to 58 games leading to reduced revenue and salaries.
The news comes less than a month after the Lakers won their 17th NBA Championship to conclude a season that lasted a near calendar year.
The announcement would mean that teams would likely report to their respective teams to prepare for the 2020-21 season the first week of December.
The time between the Lakers hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy and starting to prepare for a new campaign would be 56 days.
A typical offseason lasts just over 100 days.
In the next three weeks, the NBA will hold a Draft, free agency, and rush to release a schedule. It’ll be a tall task.
Additionally, the news will mean that players will have to be ready to play sooner than expected.
For the Trail Blazers, who limped into their offseason with injuries to CJ McCollum (back), Damian Lillard (knee), and Zach Collins (ankle), they need all the time they can get to heal up. Moreover, Rodney Hood continues to rehab from his Achilles injury and all signs are pointing to being ready to return in December.
Despite the fact that the Trail Blazers have been off for over three months, the offseason is still cut in half.
And that worries former Trail Blazer Channing Frye, host of the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast, who believes teams like the Warriors and Nets, both back healthy and with championship aspirations, are pushing for a season to start sooner and that players may come back out of shape.
“There’s going to be some chubby nubbies,” Frye said. “There’s going to be some fat boys. Fat, fat, fat boys. It’s going to be interesting.”
For the Blazers, guard CJ McCollum has publicly been known to indulge in the finer things in life and is likely enjoying some of his signature red wine. He also got married recently. During the NBA stoppage beginning in March, though, McCollum said he just needed a couple of weeks to get back in game shape. So, with a month until the Trail Blazers would be set to return to the practice facility, players like McCollum have time to get back into the swing of things.
Damian Lillard, who typically uses his offseason to take boxing lessons to stay in shape, is recovering from a right knee injury and posted workout videos recently. The NBA has also reportedly informed clubs that they can use their practice facilities and host group workouts of up to 10 players, something that wasn’t available earlier this year amid the spread of COVID-19.
So, while some teams have been sitting around waiting to play a game since March, the Trail Blazers likely haven’t had enough time to get out of shape an likely won’t need to worry about being ‘chubby nubbies.’