5 ways the NBA pushing its season back will affect the Wizards originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Some expected, but notable news came out about the 2020-21 NBA season on Tuesday, as league commissioner Adam Silver informed CNN that it is looking like things will kick off in January at the earliest instead of December, as was the initial tentative planned.
The pushback, on top of the original delay, could have a wide range of domino effects on the league and its players. Here are five ways it could impact the Wizards.
Wall has to wait even longer
Dec. 26 will mark two full years since John Wall last played in an NBA game, so pushing the season back into January or later will mean he will have sat out over two years while recovering from his ruptured Achilles surgery. That is a very long time, in particular for Wall who is itching to get back out there, and also for the Wizards to wait for one of their best players to return. The same to a similar extent applies to other stars who have been recovering from long-term injuries like Kevin Durant of the Nets and Klay Thompson of the Warriors.
For Wall, the few months difference could also change how his contract is viewed. His birthday is in September, meaning if the expected timeline for the 2020-21 NBA season is adopted and applied to future years, he would be 33 and not 32 when his deal ends. That could have a slight effect on his future earning power when he hits free agency in 2023.
Bertans and others looking for long-term deals
Those three-plus months could also make a difference for others looking for new contracts, like Davis Bertans who is set to be a free agent and whom the Wizards would like to re-sign. Bertans' birthday is in November, which means he will begin the first year of his next contract at age 28 instead of 27. Projecting a multi-year contract could be viewed differently now by teams.
The same applies to many other free agents who will be going into the open market roughly four months older than they were scheduled to. It will affect guys in their 30's to a much greater extent. Consider guys like Goran Dragic, Marc Gasol, Paul Millsap and Carmelo Anthony, who are all 34 or older.
The timeline for Bradley Beal could be affected as well and not only because of his age, as he usually turns a year older in the offseason with his birthday in June, but that could now fall later in the season on the adjusted schedule. It could also have an effect on his view of the Wizards' roster reset.
He has shown no indication he wants out, and the Wizards have no interest in trading him, but pushing everything back limits Washington's quest to improve the team quickly and actually show Beal some results rather than talk about potential in the abstract. What if they are one more year away from being real power players in the East and they have to convince Beal to stay patient for a little while longer? Now they have to buy more time.
Draft evaluation and rookies
Plenty has been said and written about how this year's draft will be affected by the league's calendar being pushed back and the college basketball season also being affected. Prospects played fewer college games with no tournament and now have to train for months longer before their NBA careers can start. That is on top of how everything has moved to virtual - from the lottery to interviews with teams and even workouts.
But also, these guys will be months older than they otherwise would have been before they debut. Guys who would have been drafted at 19 might now be 20. And by the time they take the NBA floor, it would have been the equivalent of halfway through the next college season. There is also the element of once they are drafted and how they get up to speed with uncertainty over a summer league, rookie mini-camp and the preseason.
More time for young guys to train
The flip-side of that is much more time for young players, both rookies and those who recently entered the league, to develop, as long as they have the resources and/or are afforded the usual stepping stones of a summer league and a preseason. Players like Troy Brown Jr. and Rui Hachimura, for instance, have more time to get stronger, work on their jumpers and do anything they would otherwise do in an offseason. The offseason is now much longer, technically meaning they can achieve more improvement.
It will be interesting to see what teams and players learned from the "Offseason Part 1", from March to late July when the league first took a break. It seems like the Wizards got the hang of it quickly, but surely they learned plenty from the experience and can shore some things up for the second go-around.