Could 2020-21 NBA season start before Christmas Day? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
*UPDATE (2:40 p.m. ET): The NBA apparently is aiming to begin the 2020-21 season before Christmas.
The league is targeting a Dec. 22 start date with the hope of playing a 72-game season the finishes prior to the 2021 Olympics, which begin on July 23, 2021, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.
-- End of update --
The NBA reportedly isn't giving up hope on one of its signature traditions.
The league's board of governors is meeting Friday to discuss plans for the 2020-21 NBA season, which still doesn't have a start date after COVID-19 forced a five-month pause in the 2019-20 campaign.
Initial reports suggested the 2020-21 season wouldn't start until around Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 18, 2021). But there's been "some discussion among owners" about bumping opening night up to Christmas Day, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon reported Friday.
That'd be an incredibly quick turnaround -- just two months and two weeks after Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals -- and several teams have questioned whether a Christmas Day start is feasible, per ESPN.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also told teams he'd give at least eight weeks' notice regarding next season's start time, so the league would have to set a Christmas Day start within the next week to honor that promise.
Still, there's an obvious promotional appeal for kicking off next season on Christmas Day, which has become the league's showcase for nationally televised, marquee matchups. And the sooner the season begins, the easier it will be for the NBA to play a (nearly) full slate and get back on its normal October-to-June schedule for the 2021-22 season.
The NBA also is discussing tournament and play-in scenarios, per ESPN, so there's plenty for the league to iron out. And if it's serious about playing games on Christmas Day, time is of the essence.