2020-2021 NBA Season: A Look At The League’s Initial Plans

2020-2021 NBA Season: A Look At The League's Initial Plans

The Los Angeles Lakers concluded the 2020 NBA season as champions. It marks the completion of the longest NBA season in history and the success of the league’s bubble environment. As we head on to the next season, here’s everything you need to know about the league’s initial plans.

2020-2021 Schedule

The schedule for the 2020 NBA season went as planned. For the next season, the league hoped to follow the original target start date of December 1. However, the league also previously stated that it would give eight weeks’ worth of notice before the scheduled start of the next season. This October, December 1 is highly unlikely.

The new target date, according to John Hollinger, the current NBA Columnist of The Athletic and the former Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, is  18. The 2020 NBA draft, meanwhile, will most likely take place on November 18, the league’s current target date. The original target schedule was October 16.

It’s difficult to predict the schedule of the playoffs, but the league might resort to more back-to-back games to fit the full 82-game season into a 152-day window. Starting the playoffs in May or June may result in a shortened season.

The NBA Business

For the next season that is planned to start in January, the league and the players’ union must come up with plans on how to manage the expected drop in revenue. The pandemic negatively impacted ticket and ad sales. To compensate, both parties might tackle and impose salary caps for the next two seasons.

Teams and franchises must also come up with plans on how to approach revenue sharing. Their decisions might be affected by the COVID-19 rules and regulations in different states as some teams are now allowed to host games with a live audience. Regardless of the team owners’ final decision, the 50-50 split between owners and players still needs to be followed.

Audience Attendance

One of the biggest concerns for the next season is audience attendance. After all, the NBA is not just here to recognize the greatest basketball players in the world, it also aims to please basketball fans.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated multiple times that the ultimate goal for next season is to host 82 full games with a live audience. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, live games might not be at full capacity. Only a few NBA cities encourage public gatherings and fan attendance.