The NBA has informed the Board of Governors that the 2020-21 season won’t begin earlier than Christmas Day, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The exact date for the start of the season, along with the proposed Nov. 18 date for the NBA Draft, remain fluid.
Prior to the restart, the NBA had outlined a potential Dec. 1 start date for the new season, but the league needs time to evaluate the series of losses and changes to TV revenue that will affect the 2020-21 salary cap.
That number is of immense importance, considering teams will need to know just how much money they can play with to line out trades around the NBA Draft and free agency.
The losses could be colossal, considering the NBA lost its biggest partner in Chinese TV station CCTV in 2019 after Houston Rockets general manager angered the government with a tweet that supported Hong Kong. China hasn’t severed ties with the NBA completely, but they have yet to resume broadcasting its product, which will result in a major decline in revenue.
Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to the NBA season for over four months, shutting down eight teams for good and giving all 30 teams no source of ticket revenue. While the league tried to salvage some by including eight seeding games between 22 teams in Orlando, that won’t cover all of the revenue needs for this giant sports association.
Once the league comes up with a concrete salary cap proposal, it will pen the dates for the NBA Draft and the start of next season, a date that can go into 2021 if unforeseen complications arise. Some league executives would like to see next season start on Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 18, per Marc Berman of the New York Post, but it could start even later than that.