NBA owners want to begin next season Dec. 22 with training camps opening Dec. 1.
NBA players… seem more divided. Some want to wait until Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 18). Others – especially those who don’t have massive career earnings and didn’t just make a deep playoff run (or even play in the the bubble at all) – are prioritizing maximizing games (i.e., revenue). That can be done more easily with an earlier start. The union backed the faction that wants to start later, though perhaps is gathering differing input from its rank-and-file members.
In the meantime, the wait-to-start camp is winning.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
ESPN Sources: NBA had a call with its general managers today, reiterating that there’s still no timeline agreed upon with NBPA to start the 2020-2021 season. Talks continue with union, but there’s an increasingly short window to get an agreement in place for a pre-Christmas tip.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 2, 2020
The NBA previously said it’d give eight weeks notice before beginning next season, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. By that mandate, it’s already too late for a Dec. 22 start. Eight weeks from today is Dec. 28.
But what’s a little preparation time with so much money on the line?
If players collectively want to begin Dec. 22, they’ll make it happen. The draft isn’t until Nov. 18. Barring a massive shakeup, free agency will open after the draft. So, the same timeline for key offseason events would exist with a deal today or in two weeks.
Of course, if the season is going to begin Dec. 22, everyone would prefer a two weeks ago. As deliberations continue, it does get more challenging to start the season as quickly as the league hopes.