Adam Silver: NBA likely to push back start of 2020-21 season

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the season and forced the NBA into a bubble at Walt Disney World, the league has said that it hopes to start the 2020-21 season by Dec. 1.

That date, commissioner Adam Silver said on ESPN on Thursday night, is starting to feel “a little bit early.”

Silver wants fans in stands

Silver, speaking ahead of the NBA draft lottery, said the top goal for the league is playing games back in teams’ respective home markets.

Doing that by Dec. 1, however, just may not be possible.

“Our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas,” Silver said on ESPN. “My sense is in working with the Players’ Association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would do.”

Silver didn’t specify a date as to when he thinks the 2020-21 season can actually start. It seems, however, that the league is willing to wait as long as possible in order to do so — as about 40 percent of the league’s revenue comes from ticket sales and other profits related to having fans at games.

Having to play even part of next season in a bubble would hurt the league financially, even more so than it already has. Figuring out how to logistically play a regular season inside a bubble, instead of just eight games each and then the postseason like they are doing now, would be extremely difficult, too.

The regular season isn’t all that’s expected to be delayed, either.

The NBPA, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, believes that free agency will be pushed back by “several weeks.” Free agency is currently slated to start on Oct. 18, two days after the NBA draft. There is interest, per the report, of delaying both the start of free agency and the draft together, though it’s unclear by how much.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver
Starting next season by Dec. 1 as the league has long hoped, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, is starting to feel “a little early.” (AP/Ashley Landis, Pool)

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