NBA targeting Martin Luther King Jr. Day for start of 2020-21 season?

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 10/14/20

The Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA champions after beating the Miami Heat in six games at Walt Disney World. With the 2019-20 season finally over, the NBA has begun preparations for the 2020-21 campaign. 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver revealed recently that the original Dec. 1 target start date isn’t happening. According to The Athletic’s John Hollinger, the league now is targeting Jan. 18 for the start of next season, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

MLK Day seems like a logical choice for the start of the 2020-21 campaign, especially given the emphasis put on the Black Lives Matter movement in Orlando this past season. MLK Day has become an important event on the NBA calendar, and it presents an easy way for the league to turn opening night into something memorable. 

Silver is reportedly planning to give teams eight weeks notice ahead of the start of the season, Hollinger adds, so we could know the official start date as soon as Nov. 23. 

After deciding on a start date, the NBA will meet more challenges of actually designing the season schedule. Things like how many games, if fans will be allowed to attend, COVID-19 restrictions and much more will need to be ironed out. 

Simply put, the league still has a lot of work to do before next season can begin. The 2020 NBA Draft is set for Nov. 18, with free agency to follow. Before we know it, teams will be back on the court. 

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Adam Silver: NBA likely to delay start of 2020-21 season

Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Alex Kirschenbaum | Last updated 8/20/20

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols ahead of Thursday night’s draft lottery that he now expects the league’s previously estimated December 1 start for the 2020-21 season to be pushed back, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

In explaining his thinking, Silver indicated that he would prefer to have fans be able to attend games in person next season, as he told Nichols:

“I think our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. So my sense is, in working with the [National Basketball] Players Association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would be targeting.”

Such a goal may push the NBA’s next season back a bit further than previously anticipated. Currently, the coronavirus pandemic has made gatherings of large crowds so dangerous that stateside fan attendance for large concerts, indoor movie theaters and sporting events has largely been postponed. The United States saw 43,798 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

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The worst may be yet to come in MLB’s owner-player standoff

For those who have followed Major League Baseball in recent years, the current acrimony between the league’s owners and players should not come as a surprise. The game’s economic system has been problematic for players for years, and the postponement of the start of the season — and associated questions about salary — has pushed many over the edge.

Though we don’t know how the current standoff will be resolved — or even if it will be — there is reason to believe that it may get worse before it gets better. The 2021 season is set to be the final one played under the current collective bargaining agreement, and the difficulty of those negotiations could put the current issues to shame.

Players have been looking ahead to the upcoming labor negotiations for some time now, as they are increasingly disillusioned with an economic system that they feel gives them less and less of the league’s revenue even as those revenues rise. Teams have also started to figure out ways to spend their money more efficiently — often to the detriment of players. As teams have grown more aware of the fact that handing out long-term contracts to free agents past the age of 30 rarely affords full value, the economic model has made less and less sense for players. It came to a head in 2019, when the long-term contract demands of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado left them unsigned into the spring. Add in complaints about service time manipulation and an increased emphasis on keeping payrolls down and building around younger, cheaper players means veterans are understandably frustrated with the way the system works for them.

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Grey Papke | Last updated 5/31/20