After leaving the NBA’s “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, teams likely anticipated a bit of a layoff between seasons. Early reports indicated the 2020-21 campaign wouldn’t begin before mid-January at the earliest and March at the latest.
So, uh, about those vacation plans …
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association bumped up the 2020-21 season start date to late December. It was largely a financial decision, as the NBA feared a January start could cost the league up to $1 billion in revenue losses. Things tend to move quickly when the word “billion” is being thrown around.
Not all of the details are ironed out just yet, but here’s what we know so far about the upcoming season.
When does the NBA season start for 2020-21?
Teams will be back in gymnasiums for training camps beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1, giving them three weeks to prepare before Opening Night.
Yep, it’s going to be a fast turnaround.
NBA schedule for 2020-21
Each team will play a 72-game schedule. The full regular season and broadcast schedules have not yet been revealed.
Here’s a tentative breakdown of 2020-21 calendar, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
The play-in tournament would include the Nos. 7-10 seeds with the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds needing one win in order to remain in the playoffs and the No. 9 and No. 10 seeds needing two wins in order to join the field, per Wojnarowski. The play-in tournament must be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors, but after the success of the play-in round during the 2019-20 restart, it is expected to be brought back in this new version.
Will NBA fans be allowed to attend games?
The NBA is anticipating five to 10 teams will allow fans to be present at games to start the 2020-21 season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. At this point, it is difficult to nail down which teams would feel comfortable letting fans walk into arenas amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Warriors, for example, have submitted an ambitious plan for 50 percent capacity at the Chase Center, but the Lakers have already announced their games will be held without fans “until further notice.” The league hasn’t provided an across-the-board answer, so expect teams to offer individual statements as the season approaches.
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