Despite some reports the NBA was planning to start the 2020-21 season as late as March, the latest update has contradicted that timeline, with Christmas Day now a possibility for games to begin.
ESPN first reported the latest news, which is ahead of a Board of Governors meeting on Friday. There are also indications the next season could be fewer than 82 games and not include fans in the arena.
The possibility also exists for the season to start even sooner than Christmas, as the NBA league office informed its board of governors that the projected value of a Dec. 22 start would be more than $500 million, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. The league and players' association have been in conversation about the Dec. 22 proposal.
All of it is still up in the air, but the direction things are headed is interesting. Starting the season earlier would help get the league closer to preserving its traditional fall-to-summer calendar. And it could help significantly with television ratings, which have plummeted this season.
There are many theories for why the ratings are down, but it surely hasn't helped that the NBA has had to compete more directly with other leagues playing at the same time, most notably the NFL which is the No. 1 sport in America.
The NBA usually enjoys a big spotlight during the latter stages of the postseason with the NBA Finals running into late June. By then, they are only competing with Major League Baseball, among the four major sports.
Retaining a more traditional calendar would also keep things more in line with the college basketball season, which is important for the annual NBA Draft. And it could keep the offseason in the summer, which many players would prefer.
Given this sudden change of course, there may be more twists and turns before the league comes to an agreement. But it sounds like the season could be starting earlier than expected and that's a good thing for anyone who loves basketball.