As ownership support grows for the idea, commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA board of governors continued discussions Friday about delaying the start of the 2020-21 season until December, sources told ESPN.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA’s thinking and planning has progressed on the idea independent of whether the 2019-20 season resumes and is completed, sources said.
The NBA board of governors on Friday voted to postpone two May events set for Chicago — the draft lottery and draft combine. The league hasn’t yet voted to delay the NBA draft on June 25, but there is an increasing belief that it’s just a matter of time, sources said.
For the NBA, the crux of the idea to delay the start of next season centers on the ability to buy more time to get fans back into arenas for the most possible games, sources said.
There are no imminent plans to make a decision on the calendar, and this discussion will continue, sources said.
As the uncertainty around the pandemic continues, the NBA is anticipating a number of potential obstacles to immediately returning fans to its arenas in the coming months and year.
“If you start in December, that doesn’t mean the people are coming back in December, but maybe they’re back by March,” one member of the board of governors told ESPN on Friday.
If this season resumes and is completed sometime in September — or even October — the delay of the 2020-21 season is inevitable.
Talks have centered on a season that would start before Christmas and extend into late July or early August. The NBA draft and free agency would follow the end of the season.