BOSTON (CBS) — The 2020 NBA season is still going, and won’t finish up until sometime in October. The 2020-21 season was slated to tip off just a short time later in December, but that and other important dates are now being pushed back, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Those dates include the 2020 NBA Draft and the start of free agency, which were both set to be held in mid-October. Those are some of the most frantic times in the NBA, and with them coming just a few weeks after the current season was slated to end, it was going to be even more wild.
The draft could now take place in mid-November, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. The new dates for both the Draft and free agency are still TBD
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 8, 2020
Multiple team executives told me this past week they expect the NBA draft to take place in the middle of November.
Teams would still like to have some sort of NBA Combine. Pushing the draft date creates more time for a combine after the NBA Finals. It’s all TBD though. https://t.co/JRbvFQ3l6c
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) September 9, 2020
Had the NBA gone forward with the dates it had already planned, it would have given teams a two-month offseason to get ready for 2020-21. That always seemed a bit rushed, so the push-back should come as no surprise.
Delaying the start of the season also increases the chances of having fans in the stands when the 2020-21 season tips off, which is something NBA comissioner Adam Silver mentioned back at the NBA Draft Lottery in August. He even hinted that the Dec. 1 start date for next season could be moved last month.
“December 1, now that we’re working through the season, is feeling a little bit early to me,” Silver said. “Our number one goal is to get fans back in our arenas. My sense is in working with the players association, if we could push back even a little longer and it increases the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would be targeting.”
Welcoming fans back into stadiums may still be a pipe dream, but the NBA is going to do its best to make it happen.