Commissioner Silver: NBA 2021 Season Won’t Start Until January
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the NBA was forced to reschedule the Draft and Free Agency period this year. The new arrangement, unfortunately, has also affected the 2021 season.
In a recent interview, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that according to his ‘best guess’, the next season will not start until at least January next year. The NBA originally planned to host the 2021 season on December 1 or late December if the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic persisted. The target date, apparently, has been moved again.
No dates and decisions have been finalized yet, but the first month of 2020 is the best period that the league could offer as a more delayed season could affect the participation of top U.S. men’s players in the next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
“I continue to believe that we’re going to be better off getting into January…The goal for us next season is to play a standard season … an 82-game season and playoffs. And further, the goal would be to play games in home arenas in front of fans, but there’s still a lot that we need to learn,” Silver said.
The Tokyo Olympics, which was also rescheduled due to the pandemic, is set to take place from July 23 to August 8. Focusing on basketball, the final qualifying rounds for the 24 teams vying for the four remaining spots in the 12-team men’s basketball tournament would start in June.
“There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing,” Silver added.
At press time, the U.S., Nigeria, Australia, Spain, Argentina, Iran, France, and Japan have qualified for the Olympics men’s basketball tournament. The USA Basketball Men’s National Team had started planning for the Tokyo Olympics qualification, but the organization won’t be able to move forward and make concrete decisions until the NBA releases its final schedule for 2020 and 2021. The U.S. roster for the Tokyo Olympics consists of 12 players. They’ll face 34 other players competing from other countries at the upcoming Rio Olympics as well.