The NBA is mulling several options besides the proposed potential deadlines for the NBA Draft, free agency, and the start of the 2020-21 season. Most importantly, the league is considering a potential March start for the latter, one that would run all the way to October if there was a tangible solution for the coronavirus that would allow fans in the stands, according to documents acquired by The Morning Consult.
Previously prompted dates are fluid and flexible, as there is no part of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement preparing the league for a worldwide pandemic. Nevertheless, there have been plenty of options floated around for how the league should handle things after the resumption of the 2019-20 season comes to a close.
In the event that a vaccine or a therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 is found, a March start would allow for an extended break and the potential to play games as customary with each team in its own home arena, hosting crowds as usual.
That move would directly impact net revenue, giving teams back their regular gate income but potentially risking to lose TV revenue if the season overlaps with the Summer Olympic Games, which are scheduled to be held in Tokyo from July 23-Aug. 8.
The NBA could also consider taking a break midway in July for the Olympics, allowing for the two-plus-week event and resuming the regular season later in August. That however, could cause some conflict, as players could choose to travel abroad to take part in these Olympic games.
There have been three other scenarios, all of which call for the season to start in December 2020 and run through July 2021. Teams will have to comply with state laws, which would mean some could host fans in their arenas while some others couldn’t.
If the league needs to hold games at a neutral site, players would not spend more than four weeks on-site without being able to travel back home. The 2019-20 NBA “bubble” could have teams sequestered in Orlando for longer than three months if they reach the NBA Finals.