NBA has support for 2020-21 season to start in December and run through late July or August, report says

It’s no secret that the NBA is seemingly leaving no stone unturned as it tries to find a solution for how to finish out the 2019-20 season. In a new report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, one idea that apparently has gained traction would push the start of next season all the way to the end of 2020.

As Wojnarowski notes, Silver’s job with regards to finishing out this season isn’t just to find the safest possible way to reach a natural conclusion, it’s also to prevent future seasons from getting thrown too far out of whack as a result of this coronavirus pandemic. As a result, a plan to start the 2020-21 season in December and have it run through late July or August has received support, according to the report.

This is apparently the smarter approach for the league, as it limits the brunt of the financial impact the coronavirus will levy on the league. Per the report:

The further the NBA pushes back the start of the season, the better the odds they give themselves on getting fans back into arenas — especially amid the CDC’s projections of a second wave of the virus. Fears of packed arenas — or even socially distanced space in stands — will linger without a vaccine or treatments, especially in the hardest-hit regions of North America.

What Silver apparently has on his side are smart ideas from the minds of smart people. San Antonio Spurs CEO R.C. Buford and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri were brought back to the competition committee even though their tenures had ended; Celtics coach Brad Stevens could be responsible for creating a detailed timetable for restarting training camps.

But even with that experience on his side, there will inevitably be pushback of some sort. Take the reports revealing that the NBA will allow teams in states with loosened quarantine restrictions to return to their facilities, for example. Woj reports that after those came out, the league’s GMs “spent Saturday and Sunday on the phone with each other and the league, trying to understand the purpose, the timing, the safety issues — as well as alternatives for teams outside of those selected markets.”

And that’s just a plan to begin the transition back to normalcy. It’s not hard to imagine more pushback when the NBA tries to secure an estimated 15,000 COVID-19 tests for the league to use from the restart to the end of the resumed season, or when the league finally does decide on what venue(s) will hold the remainder of the suspended season. 

For a commissioner that has been generally heralded for his responses in the face of adversity, whatever Silver decides to do will almost certainly be his most scrutinized move to date.

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