Even as the current season remains unresolved, the Toronto Raptors and the rest of the NBA are reportedly already being prepared for a delayed start to the 2020-21 campaign.
As things stand, the Toronto Raptors and the rest of the NBA are still waiting to find out how the current season will play out. However, even as matters remain uncertain due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is also considering what to do about the 2020-21 campaign.
As per Jonathan Soveta of theScore, Silver is preparing teams for a potential delayed start to next season. This is motivated in large part by his desire to make sure the current campaign ends with a team being crowned as NBA champions.
The likelihood of delaying the start of the 2020-21 season only increases with every passing day. There is still no clear path to restarting the current campaign while the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncontained.
Consider that Silver previously said nothing of significance would be decided before May 1. However, as per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the league has since pushed the date back to May 8 and it would be no surprise if the date is pushed back again.
Going back to potential plans to delay the start of the 2020-21 campaign, one idea gaining momentum is to start it around December time, during the holiday season. This is not the first time such an idea has been suggested.
The NBA usually do extremely well with viewing numbers for their slate of games on Christmas Day. As per Soveta, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin believes starting the season in December would limit the competition with the NFL and college football, especially compared to when the NBA schedule usually begins.
However, there are some flaws in this plan. The Christmas Day NBA games will remain hugely successful, regardless of what point of the season they represent.
The league still has to navigate the final weeks of the NFL regular season as well as their playoffs, along with the College Football Bowl games schedule. Of course, this may well be countered by the end of the NBA regular season concluding later, when there is less stiff competition in general.
The problem with this though is that if the NBA season and then consequently the playoffs finish later next year, they could find themselves competing with ever bigger challenges. Consider that the Olympics, Euros and Copa America have all been pushed back to next summer. (Although it should be noted the Olympics wouldn’t start until July.)
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No doubt another argument to counter this, would be to condense the 2020-21 NBA season. However, unless the league is prepared to play less games — unlikely due to how much money they are desperate to claw back given the current situation — will the players really agree to punish their bodies by playing 82 regular season games (plus playoffs) in a shorter period of time?
Talking of the players, an interesting report has come out courtesy of CNBC’s Jabari Young. Apparently, team executives and player agents are saying the current NBA season should be cancelled.
For what it’s worth, LeBron James took to Twitter to say the reports are untrue and that he believes the 2019-20 campaign should be completed. Regardless, Young’s report adds another layer to what is becoming an increasingly confusing, concerning and frustrating time for everyone involved.
Ultimately, what is clear from all of this is the COVID-19 pandemic is still dictating the timeline for whenever the Toronto Raptors and the rest of the NBA — or professional sports in general — return; not the other way around. In this respect, while it’s always good to plan ahead as much as possible, the main focus has to be on determining the fate of the current campaign before deciding what to do about next season.
What is your position on the 2020-21 season potentially being delayed? Are you for or against it, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.