Report: Substantial group of NBA players pushing for Jan. 18 start date

The Canada flag is seen on video boards during the playing of the Canadian national anthem prior to an NBA game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

A substantial faction of NBA players and stars are advocating for next season to begin on Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S., with free agency to open on Dec. 1, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.

Last week, ESPN reported that the NBA was discussing a pre-Christmas Day start to the 2020-21 campaign, with a 72-game season that finishes before the Summer Olympics.

The proposal for a late December start was, however, reportedly not well-received by all teams. Per ESPN, a number of clubs indicated that the timeline may not be feasible, while others had been pushing to start the season around MLK Day, or holding out as long as possible to see when — or if — fans could be permitted to attend games.

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.

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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