Report: NBA discussing pre-Christmas start for 2020-21 season

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a news conference. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

The NBA is reportedly discussing a pre-Christmas Day start to the 2020-21 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Initially, Wojnarowski had reported that a Christmas Day start was in play. By the end of Friday's Board of Governors meeting, it appears that is no longer the league's preference.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the target date was a Dec. 22 start instead, with a 72-game season that finishes before the Summer Olympics.

That truncated season would allow for a play-in tournament format for both conferences, too, which had been discussed according to Wojnarowski.

A late December start was reportedly not well-received by all teams. According to ESPN's reporting, numerous teams indicated that the timeline may not be feasible, while others had been pushing to start the season around Martin Luther King Jr. Day in mid-January, or holding out as long as possible to see when -- or if -- fans could be permitted to attend games.

One specific concern reportedly raised by several owners, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, was how the condensed timeline -- in which training camps would open in early December -- would reduce the free agency period.

While no final decision has been made at this time, a potential impact of an abbreviated 2020-21 season could be the cancelling of the All-Star game, Wojnarowski reported. The event is currently scheduled to take place in Indianapolis.

In September, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the goal for the league was to play a standard, 82-game season in front of fans.

The worsening state of the novel coronavirus pandemic in many regions across the U.S. has put that goal into flux.

In just the past week, an average of over 62,000 cases per day have been reported in the U.S., according to a database maintained by The New York Times -- an increase of 32 per cent from the average two weeks earlier.

Any agreement by the Board of Governors on a plan for next season would have to be approved by the players association.

The two sides previously agreed to an Oct. 30 deadline to complete ongoing discussions on modifications to the collective bargaining agreements, which have reportedly included modifications to the salary cap, luxury tax thresholds and how much escrow is taken from players' salaries, according to ESPN.

The next confirmed date on the NBA calendar is the draft, which is slated for Nov. 18. Free agency is expected to start shortly after.

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