It’s a Christmas miracle after all.
The National Basketball Players Association approved the NBA’s proposal on Thursday which includes a 72-game season with a start date of Dec. 22 and an end date in mid-July prior to the Summer Olympics, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
The Dec. 22 plan will enable the league to take advantage of Christmas Day games on television.
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.
With the 2020 NBA Draft just weeks away on Nov. 18, the league now has a start date and players are expected to report to training camp on December 1. With the quick turnaround from the shortened 2020 season, it’s unclear whether all players will take the court on opening day.
The Trail Blazers were one of 22 teams inside the NBA Bubble. They departed in late August after falling to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Portland center Jusuf Nurkic had some feelings about the 2020-21 season's start date.
The next step for the league, per Charania, is to finalize health and safety protocols for players. The NBA and NBAPA is still discussing other important items including a 17-to-18 percent escrow of player salaries over the next two years.
A December tip off presents a strong possibility that fans will not be in the stands for the season’s start. However, Charania mentioned Thursday that the NBA is aiming to have 25 to 50 percent capacity in the arena suites. This, of course, is subject to state protocols.
There will certainly be many hurdles that Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA will have to clear over the next few months, but one thing is for certain: Basketball is on its way back.