Trail Blazers

NBA eyeing January start for 2021 season

Trail Blazers

The 2019-2020 NBA season hasn't ended yet, but unless you're one of the four teams remaining in the playoffs, your attention has already turned to what next season will bring. 

COVID-19 has altered not only this season but seasons to come.

The NBA draft usually happens in June. That event has now been pushed to mid-November. 

The new season usually starts near the end of October, but the start of next season remains unknown.

Rumors have swirled all summer about the NBA potentially aiming for an early December or Christmas Day opening night, but commissioner Adam Silver now says those scenarios are unlikely.

In an interview with Bob Costas of CNN on Tuesday, Silver said his "best guess" is that the NBA season won't start until January at the earliest. 

With the draft falling on November 18, the season will certainly have to be pushed back just to allow teams to draft players, bring in free agents, and have a full camp prior to the season.

Those aren't the only hurdles that face the NBA. 

Silver also said that the league's goal for 2021 is to play a full 82-game season with fans in the stands. 

While some NFL and college football stadiums have allowed a limited number of fans at games, the NBA is a much different case. The stadiums are much smaller, fans are in closer proximity to each other, and the arenas are also indoor venues which increases the risk of virus spread.

 

If there is not a vaccine available or a dramatic decrease in infection numbers (the United Stated eclipsed 200,000 deaths on Tuesday) the odds of fans being able to attend in person is a long shot.

If that's the case, does the NBA follow Major Lague Baseball, the NFL, and the NCAA - allowing home teams to host games in their home stadiums, just without fans - or does the NBA attempt to head back down to Orlando and re-live life in the bubble?

Either way, we might be waiting longer than expected for the 2021 season to finally tipoff. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].