The coronavirus pandemic halted the 2019-20 NBA season less than a month before the playoffs were originally scheduled to begin. While a return to play is still on the table, the beginning of next season could be impacted by the virus as well.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA is considering delaying the start of the 2020-21 season beyond next fall.
"They are more willing than ever to delay the start of next season," Wojnarowski said on SC with Scott Van Pelt. "And part of that reason is that might give them more time next year to be able to have fans in the building. But, next season, the fear of having to start the year in empty arenas. And if they were going to start in their normal time, it's hard to imagine that there would be fans in the stands."
Delaying the start of next season would afford the league more time to play the 2020 playoffs and still have the ability to give everyone an offseason and full schedule for 2020-21.
Numerous players have expressed the need for an abbreviated regular season and training camp before any postseason action can commence.
"I think as much time as they can buy for themselves, I think the league is willing to do that right now," he said. "And they're trying to look at everything. And this isn't just "let's figure out the next couple months and this season." This is a two-, three-, four-year look moving forward."
As of now, team facilities remain closed. The NBA received significant pushback from teams about the idea of re-opening practice facilities in states with loosening social distancing laws, though that would not have been put into motion before the beginning of May.
In an ideal situation given the current circumstances, the NBA would like to have the NBA Finals wrapped up by Labor Day weekend in September, per Wojnarowski.
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