On Thursday night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols about the current playoffs and how the league is handling the coronavirus pandemic. There were no positive tests for another week, But he also said some things that may be surprising regarding next season.
In his appearance with Nichols, Silver mentioned that the 2020-21 NBA season will likely start after Dec. 1. It isn’t because of a short offseason for the teams that make this year’s Finals.
It’s because he wants to see NBA fans in the stands.
One way the NBA will try to get toward this milestone sooner is through rapid testing. The league has worked with pharmaceutical companies on testing. In addition, the NBA is hopeful about a vaccine.
It is unclear how much further an NBA season can be delayed. without impacting further events in next year’s calendar. The 2020 Olympics are set for July and the league may have to consider pausing the playoffs to allow players to join national teams in the weeks around the games.
On Wednesday, we had a roundtable on the feasibility on how the 2020-21 season should go. While most of us are against the league moving abroad to countries where the coronavirus was managed well, unlike the United States, most of us still believe that all games need to be played in a bubble. After all, the NBA shouldn’t try to fix something that isn’t broken — especially at a time like this.
That said, the NBA depends heavily on ticket revenue, as does Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Wizards. A bubble in Europe or even Canada sounds great in a hypothetical context — and it should be considered. But it also comes with the realization that those bubbles will mean that teams and their ownership groups will be bleeding even more money for the next season.