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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Adam Silver Warns Against Tanking

Written by ESPN Staff at

Commissioner Adam Silver reminded all 30 NBA teams that tanking “has no place in our game” in a memo sent last week to explain the league’s six-figure fine of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

“We have been careful to distinguish between efforts teams may make to rebuild their rosters, including through personnel changes over the course of several seasons, and circumstances in which players or coaches on the floor take steps to lose games,” Silver wrote in the memo, obtained by USA Today Sports.

“The former can be a legitimate strategy to construct a successful team within the confines of league rules; the latter — which we have not found and hope never to see in the NBA — has no place in our game. If we ever received evidence that players or coaches were attempting to lose or otherwise taking steps to cause any game to result otherwise than on its competitive merits, that conduct would be met with the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office.”

Cuban made headlines earlier this month when he revealed during a podcast that he told members of the Mavericks that “losing is our best option.” The league responded Feb. 21 by fining him $600,000, citing “public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

Silver mentioned “integrity” on multiple occasions in the subsequent memo, portions of which were published Wednesday as part of a USA Today report. He said the league doesn’t believe the Mavericks are tanking.

The Mavericks enter Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 19-42 record, just 1 1/2 games ahead of the Phoenix Suns (18-44) for the worst record in the league. The bottom eight teams in the league are separated by just 2 1/2 games in the standings.

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NBA Makes Changes To Timeouts and Trade Deadline.

Written by Colin Ward-Henniger at CBS

DeMarcus Cousins was trying to enjoy his third straight All-Star Game last February, but once reports came out about him possibly being traded, that’s all he heard about.

“Man, give me a break. I just need one All-Star where it’s All-Star questions,” Cousins said after being involved in trade rumors at the All-Star break for the third straight season.

Of course, it turned out that Cousins actually was traded this time — to the New Orleans Pelicans — but a situation like that won’t happen again in the NBA … at least not for a while.

The NBA has agreed to change the trade deadline for the 2017-18 season to before All-Star weekend. From the NBA press release:

The Board of Governors approved moving the trade deadline from the Thursday after the NBA All-Star Game to the Thursday 10 days before the All-Star Game. With the new placement of the trade deadline, teams will be able to settle their rosters before the All-Star break and avoid the disruptions that result from players joining new teams just as practices and games are beginning to resume following the All-Star break.

The change will allow trade speculation to cease once All-Star weekend begins, so players will no longer have to endure the constant questions during a time that’s supposed to be a celebration of their talent.

The league has also made significant changes to the amount of timeouts teams will have. The maximum number of timeouts per game will reduce from 18 to 14, and teams will only be able to call two timeouts in the final three minutes of a game. Here are the full rule changes:

  • Each team will have seven timeouts per game, with no restrictions per half.
  • All team timeouts will be 75 seconds. In the previous format, “full” timeouts were 90 seconds and “20-second” timeouts were 60 seconds. Both “full” and “20-second” timeouts have been replaced by team timeouts.

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Adam Silver: “One-And-Done Not Working For Anyone”

Written by Scooby Axson at

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the state of the league before Game 1 of the NBA Finals and says the issue with player rest and the age requirement rule to enter the draft will be looked into by the league’s owners.

Silver says the amount of back-to-back games that teams play could be reduced by working with the arenas to better schedule games.

“(We are) requiring our arenas to free up more dates,” Silver said. “We’re competing against everything else that happens in these buildings, so you can only imagine the number of permutations that go into the computer program. But if we can ask them to hold yet additional nights, that also enables us to create more space between the games.”

Silver also says that the 82-game schedule is not the issue and that players resting is not anything new.

On the subject of one-and-done, Silver says the rule will continue to be looked at between the league and the players union.

Currently, any player entering the draft must be at least 19 years old. For players in the United States, they must also be at least one year removed from high school.

“My sense is it’s not working for anyone,” Silver said. “It’s not working certainly from the college coaches and athletic directors I hear from. They’re not happy with the current system. And I know our teams aren’t happy either in part because they don’t necessarily think that the players are coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see among top draft picks in the league.”

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Adam Silver Wants Female NBA HC Soon

Written by Ohm Youngmisuk at

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN he believes there will be a female head coach in his league, and he wants it to happen “sooner rather than later.”

“There definitely will,” Silver said when asked about a woman becoming an NBA head coach. “And I think it is on me to sort of ensure that it happens sooner rather than later.”

In an interview promoting the NBA and’s launch of a gender equality public awareness campaign Tuesday, Silver also said there will be more women officiating in the NBA as early as next season. The NBA recently announced some new initiatives to improve officiating, including the expanding of its officiating roster by 25 percent over the next three seasons.

Lauren Holtkamp currently is the only woman officiating in the NBA, following Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner. Silver would like to see the NBA add more women and even an international referee.

“It would be my goal as we look to increase that pool of officials that we recruit equally from pools of potential women as we do from men. … We will be looking very hard at dramatically increasing the representation of women in our officiating ranks,” Silver said.

“I would make all the same points in terms of being a head coach in the NBA that there is no physical reason why women can’t officiate in the NBA. I think it is more a function of the fact that they haven’t been in the pipeline to become NBA officials.”

Silver disputed recent comments made by WFAN radio host Mike Francesa, who sparked controversy when he stated that a woman has no shot at being a head coach of a pro men’s team.

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Adam Silver Sent Memo To NBA Owners About Resting Players

Written by Ramona Shelburne at

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has called the practice of teams resting marquee players “an extremely significant issue for our league” in a memo sent to team owners Monday and obtained ‎by ESPN.

In the memo, Silver informed teams that the issue will be a prime topic of discussion at the next NBA board of governors meeting April 6 in New York and warned of ‎”significant penalties” for teams that don’t abide by the league’s standing rules for providing ‎”notice to the league office, their opponent, and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest.”

He states that it is unacceptable for owners to be uninvolved or defer decision-making on this topic to others in their organizations, who may not have the same awareness of the impact these decisions can have on “fans and business partners,” the reputation of the league and “perception of our game.”

After the Cavaliers decided to rest their Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for a 108-78 loss to the LA Clippers on Saturday, Cleveland general manager David Griffin said the league office called him shortly after the team announced its decision.

But the GM also said it isn’t his job to appease the league and its television partners (which include ESPN).

“They’re paying me to win a championship,” Griffin told ESPN. “I’m not overly concerned about the perception of it. We literally had one guy rest tonight, and everybody else was reasonably injured, so I don’t feel like we did anything terribly egregious.”

On Monday, ESPN released a statement about teams resting their star players during nationally televised games.

“As always, our aim is to serve NBA fans with the best matchups involving the league’s top stars and we share the fans’ disappointment. We understand this is a complex issue and we’re working closely with the NBA to best address it going forward from a media partnership standpoint,” the statement said.

It was the second consecutive week a team that had been to the Finals rested multiple star players in the nationally televised game on ABC. A week earlier, the Golden State Warriors sat Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala for their Western Conference showdown against the San Antonio Spurs.

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NBA D-League To Become Gatorade League

Written by James Hebert at

Ads on NBA and NBA D-League jerseys were not enough, apparently. On Tuesday the D-League announced that it has entered into a partnership with Gatorade, and next season it will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League. Or G-League.

Yes, this is for real.

From the press release:

Beginning with the 2017-18 season, the NBA Development League (NBA D-League) will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League (NBA G-League) as part of a multiyear expanded partnership announced today by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Gatorade. This marks the first time a U.S. professional sports league has named an entitlement partner.

As part of the partnership, the NBA and Gatorade unveiled a new NBA G-League logo that will be featured across all game balls, team jerseys, oncourt signage, and league digital assets. Additionally, Gatorade will incubate its latest product and equipment innovations into NBA G-League locker rooms, and teams will have the opportunity to collaborate with Gatorade to help players maximize their athletic potential and oncourt performance.

Through the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), the sports fuel company will collaborate with the NBA G-League on programs to enhance player sports performance and recovery. Since 1985, GSSI has helped athletes optimize their sports performance and well-being through research, education, innovation and providing high-caliber sports nutrition science services. GSSI scientists will partner with the NBA G-League on player nutrition and training programs, incorporating the newest technology and innovations in Gatorade testing, product and equipment.

There’s also a promotional video, starring Greensboro Swarm swingman Damien Wilkins, touting the Gatorade Sports Science Institute:

The D-League was already sponsored by Gatorade — whenever a player was called up to the NBA, it was officially known as a “Gatorade Call-Up.” This is obviously a much bigger deal, and it’s going to take a while to get used to saying “G-League.” Some people still call it the NBDL.

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New NBA Rule Stops Twitter Fingers From Firing Shots at Opponents.

Written by Tim McMahon at

The NBA, citing concerns about provoking exchanges between players that could damage the league’s reputation, issued a memo to all 30 franchises this week emphasizing rules prohibiting “mocking and/or ridiculing” opponents or officials by official team social media accounts.

“While we understand that the use of social media by teams, including during games, is an important part of our business, the inappropriate use of social media can damage the reputation of the NBA, its teams and its players,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum wrote in the memo obtained by ESPN. “Recently, social media postings (e.g., on Twitter) by some teams have crossed the line between appropriate and inappropriate. In addition to other concerns, such conduct by teams can result in ‘Twitter wars’ between players that can cause further reputational damage and subject players to discipline by the League.

“As a result, we want teams to be aware of the NBA’s rules with respect to the use of social media by teams. As with in-game entertainment, teams are prohibited from mocking and/or ridiculing opponents (including teams, players, team personnel (including owners) and opponents’ home cities) and game officials on social media in any form, including through statements, pictures or videos.”

The memo was issued in the wake of an exchange between Memphis Grizzlies small forward Chandler Parsons and Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum that started with the official Trail Blazers Twitter account posting a GIF of Parsons air-balling a 3-pointer during the Jan. 27 game between the teams.

Parsons, who received maximum-contract offers from Portland and Memphis before choosing to go to the Grizzlies in free agency last summer, replied after the game: “Good luck in the lottery show this year.”

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Written by Kurt Hellin at

When was the last time you saw any labor contract — not just the NBA, not just pro sports, but in any business — get done before either side could opt-out, let alone the actual deadline?

That’s what happened with the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The teams had until Dec. 15 of last year to opt out, with the real deadline for a new deal being July 1 of this year. Yet the two sides reached a deal before either side even opted out.

Thursday the NBA and National Basketball Players’ Association announced that the new CBA had been signed. It’s a seven-year deal that kicks in July 1.

The deal got done primarily for two reasons. One, the league is awash in cash with the new television deal and neither side wanted to put that at risk. Second, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA Executive Director Michelle Roberts do not have the long, scarred history of their predecessors (David Stern and Billy Hunter), so they didn’t come to the table with distrust and looking to settle old scores.

The new CBA is largely status quo, which is another reason it got done quickly. Here are the highlights.

• The roughly 50/50 split of revenue remains in place (the players get between 49-51 percent of “basketball-related income” depending on if the league meets revenue goals). It’s always about the money, once this got done the rest tends to fall in line. The rising tide of the new national television contract has floated all boats and nobody wanted to rock that boat.

• The college one-and-done rule will remain. However, both sides will continue to look at the issue. (Will it change eventually? It’s a negotiation, if one side really wants the limit moved they are going to have to give something else up.)

• A new “designated player” rule, which we should just call the Kevin Durant rule. The rule allows teams that have a player they drafted that is entering their seventh or eighth year in the NBA to be offered a longer, larger contract extension — five years starting at 35 percent of the salary cap, same as 10-year veterans. The qualifications are the player has to be with the team that drafted him (or have been traded during his rookie deal, the first three seasons), and have been MVP or made the All-NBA team that season (or two of the previous three). Other teams could only offer four years starting at 30 percent of the cap. For example, Golden State can and will offer Stephen Curry that extension this summer. The more interesting test will be DeMarcus Cousins — the Kings say they will offer it and Cousins has said he will sign it.

• The NBA players’ union now will handle negotiations for player-likeness rights (such as those used in video games). This is something the union wanted and they see as a growth area of revenue, and how were the owners going to push back on the idea of players controlling their own images?

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