Could 2020-21 NBA season be shortened to 50 games on this timetable?

Darren Hartwell
·2 min read

Could 2020-21 NBA season be shortened to 50 games? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We know the 2020-21 NBA season will look much different than in years past. But there's still some disagreement as to how.

The NBA may propose a 50-game season if the NBA Players' Association insists on beginning the campaign in mid-January rather than Dec. 22, The New York Times' Marc Stein reported Friday.

While initial reports suggested the new season could begin around Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 18), The Athletic's Shams Charania reported last week that the league was pushing for a start date of Dec. 22, just over two months after the conclusion the 2020 NBA Finals.

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The NBA reportedly hoped to play a 72-game season that ended in mid-July before the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. According to Stein, that's still their hope -- and they're willing to lop off games to make it happen.

The league and the players' union actually have a deadline of Friday to terminate their current collective bargaining agreement and hash out the details of next season.

It sounds like that deadline will be pushed one week, however.

This back-and-forth isn't unlike Major League Baseball's negotiations with its players, which resulted in MLB mandating a 60-game season in 2020 that would finish in October.

The NBA and its players likely hope to find more middle ground than their baseball counterparts, but time is running out: NBA commissioner Adam Silver told teams he'd give them at least eight weeks' notice before announcing a start date for next season -- and Christmas is eight weeks from Friday.