Report: Start date for 2020-21 NBA season to be decided this week


The National Basketball Players Association is holding a meeting to decide the start date for the upcoming NBA season on either Thursday evening or Friday morning, according to a new report from The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The NBPA is reportedly deciding between two dates -- Dec. 22 and Jan. 18 -- as the opening night of the upcoming season.

Reasons for the December start are largely due to the financial losses the league would suffer, should they push the beginning of the season into the new year. An earlier report from Charania suggested the league could lose $500 million if they don't start in December, and thus, not have any games on Christmas.

Charania also suggested that if there is no NBA basketball on Christmas, the league's TV partners might want to renegotiate their deals for the upcoming season.

With a Dec. 22 start, the league would hold a 72-game season with the regular season ending in May and the playoffs concluding around July 22. This format would also not interfere with the 2021 Olympics, which were postponed this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A December beginning would be a quick turnaround for the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, who competed in the NBA Finals until mid-October. Lakers guard Danny Green even suggested that some veterans would skip the beginning of the season, should it begin in December.

The earlier start would also allow the league to return to its typical October-June format for the 2021-22 season, something players have emphasized they want done in order to get their traditional summers back.


A Martin Luther King Day Jan. 22 start would likely have a 60-game season, but teams would have almost double the number of back-to-backs. The regular season would end in June, meaning the NBA Finals could go as late as August. This would interfere with the Olympics, too.

Both formats include play-in games for the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds, similar to how the final playoff teams were decided in the Orlando bubble. There will also be a mid-year All-Star break in both formats, as well as a 25% reduction in travel.

With a January start, the 2021-22 season would also follow an untraditional format.