As soon as the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned champions earlier this month, questions began to surface about when the 2020-21 NBA season would begin.
A possible answer to that question came last week when Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA is in discussions about Dec. 22 as the opening night of the season.
A December start to next season would be quite the turnaround for the Lakers and the Miami Heat, whose NBA Finals bout ended October 11. They aren't the only ones, as the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets played into late September as well.
In fact, the turnaround is so short that Lakers guard Danny Green said on Monday that if the league does move forward with the December start date, he wouldn't be surprised if LeBron James and other Lakers veterans sat out the beginning of the season in order to maximize their offseason rest.
"If we start in December, I think most guys [are like] 'I'm not going to be there,'" Green said. "To have that quick of a restart, I wouldn't expect to see Bron there. I wouldn't expect to see him there for the first month of the season."
Green's comments came on The Ringer NBA Show. In a normal offseason, players usually get around 140 days off. For the Lakers and Heat, a Dec. 22 start date would mean a mere 73 days in-between seasons.
— The Ringer (@ringer) October 26, 2020
The guard mentioned that if the Lakers bring back the same core that won them the NBA title, the team has an older roster.
James turns 36 in December, while Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo and Javale McGee are all in their 30s. Howard and Rondo, along with other role players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley and Markieff Morris, are all free agents.
With a December start date, the NBA league office informed its board of governors that the projected value of the season would be more than $500 million, per Charania. The league is in talks with its players association in order for that start date to be approved.
If the league does move forward with a December beginning, it's more likely the players comply and show up for the beginning of the season than not. However, the Lakers could take a page out of their crosstown rivals Clippers' handbook and use load management a lot towards the beginning of the year in order to preserve the health of their players.