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NBA approves December start date for new season

The NBA restart officially ended in October but that did not deter the league from seeking a December start for the 2020-21 season. The prospect of this received some pushback from teams that played in the NBA bubble deep into September/October as the playoffs ensued. Nonetheless, parties agreed on gearing back up around Christmas.

“The Board of Player Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association has tentatively approved a start date of December 22, 2020 for the 2020-2021 NBA season and a 72-game schedule,” the NBPA announced. “Additional details remain to be negotiated and the NBPA is confident that the parties will reach agreement on these remaining issues relevant to the upcoming season.”

The NBA lost four months between March and July when the season was forced to come to an abrupt stop due to the coronavirus. A main motivator for the quick turnaround to begin the next season is the league’s desire to regain that time and return to its original schedule. The short offseason will also help the NBA make up for a $695 million loss last season due to the pandemic and other factors.

“Our No. 1 priority was health and safety and from a business standpoint, it was important that we would finish the 2019-2020 season, crown a champion and be able to include our business and media partners and develop a plan to bring our fans courtside,” NBA executive vice president Kelly Flatow said.

The league has now rolled out a compressed schedule of events that will take place before Christmas week when the NBA returns.

Nov. 18: NBA Draft
Nov. 20: Free agency begins
Dec. 1: Training camp starts
Dec. 22: Season tipoff

With games set to begin in a few months, the regular season will be on pace to finish before the start of the 2021 Summer Olympics, which are scheduled to begin on July 23 in Tokyo.