The NBA scheduled the start of next season for Dec. 1. The league could also delay its start until March.
That’s a wide range of possibilities.
What’s actually a reasonable expectation?
Finishing this season has been a major undertaking for the NBA. Next season will present an even great challenge as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
There will be more teams (30 vs. 22) and more games (a full season vs. just the final stretch of the regular season plus postseason). A bubble has proven to work for safety, but the costs – both financial for operating and emotional for participants separated from family and friends – are high. Regional bubbles could make sense.
Of course, the main goal is a return to normalcy. Get fans back in arenas, and get that gate revenue. That’s the point of delaying – buying time for a vaccine or some similarly effective solution to emerge.
But delaying invites its own complications. Some teams will have incredibly long offseasons. The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July and August 2021. Unless the NBA wants to annually begin in February, resetting the calendar will be challenging.
Coronavirus leaves no perfect solutions, though. Postponing the start of next should at least be one of the imperfect solutions under consideration.
As far as the Collective Bargaining Agreement, changes are definitely necessary. Roberts predicted only minimal adjustments. Do owners agree?