The National Basketball Association (NBA) will seek to restart the 2020/2021 season sooner rather than later, with ESPN reporting an early return before December 25. The new season would feature 72 games, down from the usual 82, sources close to the matter say.
NBA is reportedly looking to scrap the All-Star Weekend and All-Star Game in Indianapolis. To avoid burnout and assess the health situation, the league could also introduce a two-week break after 36 games into the season.
These proposals have already been submitted to the board of governors which met on November 23, according to ESPN. The NBA is also reportedly looking to run these changes by the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) before arriving at a decision.
The goal is to give enough time for the NBA to be able to finish ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23, rescheduled for 2021. Based on the report, the NBA was also exploring an idea to delay the seasons so that it can see crowds return back to the stadiums, but, the league gave up, seeing that most jurisdictions are still firmly against mass gatherings.
NBPA and NBA Need to Negotiate Collective Bargaining
According to sources, the NBA would want to avoid, at all costs, having to cram players in another bubble situation, limiting their ability to exercise and move freely. Despite the confining experience to players, the NBA season restart proved a success precisely to the bubble structure.
ESPN claims that talks are already ongoing to make it possible to keep franchises in their homes longer and force less traveling around.
Before anything of this comes to pass, though, the NBA and NBPA will have to complete their collective bargaining agreement. One possible hiccup could crop up if any side decides to terminate the CBA, which is not likely.
Meanwhile, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that there must be an eight-week break between the CBA and the restart of the season. The NBPA and NBA continue to discuss several negotiating points which would make it easier for agents and players to prepare for the financial impact that covid-19 would undoubtedly bring on.