NBA rumors: Adam Silver expecting next season to start in January

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Marc J. Spears: Adam Silver says “it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the Olympics.” Silver adds “basic protocol” to fight against the coronavirus with wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, washing hands and cleanliness is working.
Joe Vardon: NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league is "learning more about our television audience," and that "fewer people are watching in the summer." He was talking about when a season should start and end. #NBAFinals
Tim Reynolds: Expect a break between Games 3 and 4 of the East finals, because the West series will be so far behind. Celtics-Heat would play Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 likely not until Wednesday. Nothing definite yet, but this is a working theory.
Free agency would likely follow the draft, but based on that timeframe it certainly stands to reason that teams will be making offseason roster decisions into early December. That's why a start date before the calendar flips to 2021 - Christmas week has been a speculated target - could be ambitious, given how much work remains before the 2020-21 league year can start.
There's also figuring out a schedule, whether to play at least some of next season in another bubble-type situation or in home arenas, if fans will be permitted to attend and if so how many - along with plenty of other matters. There's also the quest to make everyone happy, which probably won't be possible. There are eight teams - Golden State, Minnesota, Atlanta, New York, Cleveland, Charlotte, Chicago and Detroit - that have not played since March and are now assured of going at least nine months without a real game.
On a call with all team GMs and NBA commissioner Adam Silver in August, Silver mentioned that the quality of play had indeed been impressive, sources with direct knowledge of the call said. Later, a GM said that it had been their observation -- and that they were receiving feedback from management, staff and players -- that additional rest and lack of travel were playing a role in the quality of the performances, sources said.
A second GM then chimed in on the same theme, sources said, echoing the lack of travel and additional rest leading to better play and helping even out the competition. Sources said a league official on the call then brought up the concept of teams heading into cities to play a potential series of games -- fly into a city and have two teams play each other in two games over a short time span. The idea, which several GMs considered akin to a baseball-like homestand, was discussed in an effort to reduce the mileage teams might have to fly during the regular season.
In terms of scheduling, and in potentially doing baseball-like homestands, the league would also face the obstacle of juggling arena dates when concerts and other non-NBA events are being slated to be held, though it's unclear in the current climate if such events will even take place in the near future. And multiple GMs noted that the league is heading into financial unknowns because it's still yet unclear when teams will be able to fill their arenas with fans to make up for lost revenues.
However, sources have suggested the NBA is completely open-minded about a starting date for February – and March has not been completely ruled out either. “The league may want to wait as a long as possible so fans can be there,’’ one NBA source said. “They may want to wait for a vaccine and that may not happen by mid-January.’’
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association agreed to push back the start of the 2020-21 season, sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania on Tuesday. The 2020-2021 season was planned for Dec. 1. No new dates have been determined. According to Charania, by extending the window to terminate the collective bargaining agreement to Oct. 15, the NBA and NBPA have started the process of negotiating terms for the 2020-21 season and beyond.
Aldridge: Teams were increasingly leery about conducting a draft in five weeks. COVID-19 remains in charge. The NBA couldn't possibly be business as usual when large swaths of the country still wouldn't allow teams to conduct training camps, with their current restrictions on gatherings. Moreover, the league is desperate to get at least some fans back into NBA buildings at some point next season. Whether that means an 82-game season or something shorter remains uncertain.
Anthony Chiang: NBA announces game dates for Heat-Bucks series, with times TBD.
Shams Charania: NBA postseason schedule for Monday.
Shams Charania: NBA Postseason schedule for Tuesday:
Shams Charania: NBA playoff schedule for Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to the hope of vaccines, the league and several of its owners have been working with companies on fast-response tests that could economically and safely make crowds more feasible in the months ahead. "We're watching closely the development of antivirals," Silver said. "There's been some really positive reports about vaccines lately."
Jeff Zillgitt: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said No. 1 goal for next season is "having fans in arenas." From what I'm hearing, the league would love to see a vaccine available late this year, early next year to make it work.
NBA All-Star Weekend 2021 — scheduled for Feb. 12-14, 2021 in Indianapolis — will not be held as scheduled, an NBA spokesperson told Fieldhouse Files. “Given the uncertainty surrounding the schedule for the 2020-21 NBA season, we and the Indiana Pacers informed our hotel partners in Indianapolis that NBA All-Star 2021 is unlikely to take place on Presidents’ Day weekend so they could make other arrangements. More information about next season’s schedule, including NBA All-Star, will be announced at a later date.”
The NBA officially awarded Indianapolis its second All-Star weekend on Dec. 13, 2017. Since that time, they have created a host committee of more than 300 volunteers, provided grants up to $50,000 to 21 different youth-serving organizations across Indiana and renovations are ahead of scheduled at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indy first hosted the event in 1985. It was expected to have an estimated economic impact, based on previous host cities, of around $100 million.
News 8 has learned the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not happen on its scheduled weekend in Indianapolis next year. Indianapolis was set to host the event on Presidents’ Day weekend next year but it looks like that won’t happen. Two sources, including Phil Ray, general manager of the JW Marriott, confirmed to WISH-TV Sports Director Anthony Calhoun that the NBA canceled its hotel contracts for that weekend in Indianapolis.
Rick Fuson, president and chief operating officer for Pacers Sports and Entertainment, issued this statement: We have been working with the NBA since 2017 to bring our fans and our city this world-class event, just as we did when we last hosted in 1985. While it appears All Star 2021 is unlikely to happen on Presidents’ Day weekend, we are excited about continuing to collaborate with the NBA as we look to the future.
“The play-in format is exciting,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “[But] I think with 82 games, that in itself warrants somebody getting in or not. So if I had to vote, I would vote no.” Said Frank Vogel, “I’ll leave that in Adam Silver’s hands. They do a great job of being innovative and trying to make the game better in any way they can. I typically am a traditionalist … but I’ll leave that in the league’s hands.”
Marc Stein: First-round playoff schedules from the NBA ...
The NBA has told teams that the plan remains to start on Dec. 1, but pushing back that date would require a level of confidence that a delay would ultimately result in the reopening of arenas to the public. If so, the NBA would be willing to hold back the start -- perhaps even months. An opening night of Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- Jan. 18 -- is a consideration. February and March are realistic too if a combination of vaccines, therapeutics and rapid-response testing for COVID-19 could contribute to the possibility of public gatherings.
There's hope for vaccines, but the league has prepared teams for the reality that mass distribution would be unlikely for a full year, sources said. For now too there's a skepticism about the reliability of rapid-response testing. They're hopeful that advances in the technology could facilitate ways to get fans into arenas -- even if it means less than capacity. Teams are already modeling options that include a few thousand fans to buildings filled closer to capacity.
The NBA could reportedly delay the start of next season – currently planned for Dec. 1 – if fan attendance becomes foreseeable. How long would the league wait? Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times: one plan includes starting in March if the NBA feels they can get fans in the arena by then, as well as not lose personnel and viewership to the Summer Olympics.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA’s priority remains to get fans into arenas next season. Regional pods for extended periods are among brainstorms, but preference would be that those are finite in length, sources said. For example: A month or two inside, a month out. Early in planning; everything's on table.
The first exhibition games of the NBA restart will go a little more quickly than usual. The NBA is tweaking the rules for those initial matchups, going with 10-minute quarters instead of the usual 12 minutes. The change is for several reasons -- among them, not wanting to overly tax players' bodies after they went more than four months without games, and because some teams do not yet have their full rosters at Walt Disney World because of coronavirus and other issues.
The exhibitions will be helpful in breaking up the monotony of practice, Denver coach Michael Malone said, but he stressed that player health will come before anything else in those games. "The No. 1 thing for me is can we get through these three scrimmages healthy and not getting guys put in a position where they're overworked, playing too many minutes and getting hurt," Malone said. "I think the vast majority of the 22 teams will approach it the same way."
The NBA is closing in on signing off on a second "bubble" in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to play in Florida, enabling them to participate in a mini-training camp and subsequent games against other clubs with a target date of September, sources told ESPN on Thursday. The details are still being hammered out, and teams continue to push for an alternative plan that would enable them to hold mini-camps within their local markets and to explore the idea of establishing regional sites where teams could scrimmage against each other.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA is closing in on signing off on a second “bubble” in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to play in Orlando, enabling mini-training camps and subsequent games against other clubs with a target date of September, sources tell ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.
Cuban: “I hope for the NBA and I hope not for other sports, for obvious reasons. I’ve always been a proponent of starting on Christmas Day because that’s when we go to broadcast television. Whether it’s Christmas Day or possibly a little earlier, because part of the thought process is hopefully there’s a vaccine by then, and I’m one of these people that’s very confident that there will be. The science geek in me just reading it thinks that it’s highly likely that there will be. Now the question is the distribution of it and the more time we buy for distribution of the vaccine, the more likely when we start next season there’s an opportunity to not just have some fans but more fans than we otherwise might expect.”
Tim Reynolds: Disney restart breakdown: One back-to-back per team Games as early as 12:30 on weekends, 1 p.m. on weekdays. Games starting as late as 9 p.m. No games closer than four hours apart in the same arena. Ladies and gentlemen, the NBA is back.
Tim Reynolds: Using that metric -- counting only the games involving the 22 teams left -- here's who has the hardest schedule in the seeding round ... 1. Denver 2. Toronto 3. Lakers 4. Heat 5. Blazers ... and the easiest 18. Celtics 19. Nets 20. Magic 21. 76ers 22. Pelicans
The NBA today released its complete game schedule and national television schedules for TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV for the “seeding games,” which will be played July 30 – Aug. 14 to tip off the resumption of the 2019-20 season. The 22 teams participating in the season restart will play eight seeding games each at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
During the season restart, there will be a maximum of seven seeding games per day across three venues at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Each team will be designated as the home team in four seeding games and the visiting team in four seeding games. The tip-off time for each team’s last seeding game, scheduled to be played on Aug. 13 or 14, will be determined at a later date in order to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.
Shams Charania: Sources: Travel dates for 22 NBA teams to Orlando: - July 7: Nets, Nuggets, Magic, Suns, Jazz, Wizards - July 8: Celtics, Mavericks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Pelicans, Thunder, Kings - July 9: Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Bucks, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Raptors
Is there anything you would have changed about the playoff format or the starting date for the 2021-22 NBA season? Mark Cuban: There is no perfect format. We could tweak it here or there, but I think we ended up with a solution that will definitely work. In terms of the starting day for next season, my preference is Christmas Day, but am OK with any time after Thanksgiving. With companies and schools changing their holiday schedule to effectively combine Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks as a means of reducing risk, I’m hopeful the NBA can use that time to not only start the season, but also to start to introduce fans to a home schedule. Again, it’s purely a hope.
Vincent Goodwill: Yahoo sources: NBA playoffs scheduled to begin on Aug.17. Friends and family can arrive on Aug 30. Conference Finals begin Sept 15. NBA Finals will begin Sept 30.
Ira Winderman: Adam Silver, on NBA schedule, says of next season, "Very tentatively we'd be looking to start next season in early December." Compares quick turnaround to those returning from Olympics and international competitions in previous years
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA's expected restart dates: - July 30-Aug. 14: Seeding games - Aug.15-16: Play-in tournaments - Aug. 17: Playoffs begin - Aug. 30: Family/guests of teams arrive - Aug. 31-Sept. 13: Conf. Semifinals - Sept. 15-Sept. 28: Conf. Finals - Sept. 30-Oct. 13: NBA Finals
Adrian Wojnarowski: Players traveling outside of the U.S. need to report by June 15 to team markets -- rest of players need to arrive by June 22, per sources.
Shams Charania: Health and safety: The NBA's required coronavirus testing window for teams: June 23-30, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
– The NBPA told players 2020-21 season starting on Dec. 1 is “unlikely” and plans to negotiate the date. – The NBPA informed players today that NBA/NBPA will conduct coronavirus testing every night, likely mouth swabs/light nasal swabs and not the full invasive nasal swab. Minimum seven days quarantine for a player if positive. – There could be crowd noise via NBA 2K video game sounds, but the NBA and NBPA is still discussing creative opportunities – Players are expected to return to full paychecks this summer, after taking a 25 percent reduction in May – There is a proposed 35-person travel party limit – There is an expected three-hour practice window for teams, with two courts and weight rooms in the convention center
Adrian Wojnarowski: Many of dates the NBA shared with teams today -- including Draft Lottery, Draft -- are considered tentative. The NBA and NBPA have a long list of financial and compeititve items to negotiate for the 2020-21 season, included with a Nov. 10 camp opening off an October 12 Game 7.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Some preliminary expectations on Orlando format, per sources: 16-day regular season - 5-to-6 games per day. Each team expected to play one back-to-back among its eight regular-season games. NBA Finals format expected to include games every other day during best-of-seven series.
There will be up to seven games per day played over roughly three weeks during the August regular season, which the NBA has branded "seeding games," and it is likely there will be weekday afternoon playoff games during the the first round. Sources say the league will use three different facilities at first to stage games -- The Arena, HP Field House and Visa Athletic Center, all at the Wide World of Sports Complex. As things progress, it will be reduced to two sites and then one.
Harrison Wind: So if the season does resume on July 31, there will have been 142 days in between games. There were 112 days in between Game 6 of the 2020 Finals and the first preseason game of the 2019-20 season.
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA informed the Board of Governors of scheduled dates: - Training camp: June 30, July 7 travel to Orlando - 2019-20 season: July 31 - Free agency: Oct. 18 - 2020-21 targets: Nov. 10 training camp, Dec. 1 opening night (can remain fluid)
Mark Cuban offered his predictions on ESPN’s “The Jump”. First: Aug. 1 will likely be the latest date the NBA could restart its season without significantly hampering future seasons, Cuban said. To calculate his timeline, Cuban “works backward” from the 2020-21 season, which he is in favor of starting on Christmas, rather than in late October under the league’s traditional calendar.
“We can start playing in August, for that matter, because we don’t have all the travel restrictions,” Cuban said. “Everyone [will be] in probably one location. You don’t have to fly across the country, give everybody one day off. You can play multiple games in one day. You can compress it in ways we never were able to before, so I don’t think there’s a drop-dead date. … Starting by Aug. 1 in order to make it, so that gives us plenty of time.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is the latest NBA figure to promote the idea of permanently moving the start of the season to Christmas Day. "I've been saying that for 15 years," Cuban said on the "Pardon My Take" podcast. "And the reason I've been getting shot down is, there's this thing called HUT (households using televisions). And during the summer, that drops. ... In the past, that was a big deal. So you wanted to end (the NBA season) by June so you could maximize the people watching TV. "But ... TV's changed."
Mark Cuban believes the NBA can still salvage its 2019-20 season, despite it being suspended for two months and counting amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Dallas Mavericks owner pointed to Dec. 25 as the start date for next season and then said you just have to work backward for a potential timeline to resume this season. Most teams, Cuban said, would not be playing an extended schedule as there’s a limited number of teams that would advance through the playoffs.
Simply put, Cuban just wants the sport to return in some fashion. He believes the level of play will be just as good, if not better, than what NBA fans saw coming out of the 2011 lockout. “Anything we show is going to be better than what we have right now,” Cuban said. “It’ll be good enough, right? We just want our sports. We just want to root for the Mavs, the Cowboys, the Stars, the Rangers, etc. If it’s not perfect, I don’t think anybody is going to mind.”
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The real question is what happens after. At one point, there was mutual interest in an extension. However, the sides have been far apart in those preliminary discussions, sources say. The Cavs recognize Drummond’s talent but they are also honest about his flaws, especially in this pace-and-space era, where bigs like him are easy to attain. They don’t want to commit to an unfriendly deal that could limit future moves, not after an eight-game sample size. Drummond, meanwhile, wants to be compensated for bypassing a chance at 2021 free agency, when many teams will have significant cap space. Given the differing, current monetary views, an extension seems unlikely.
Then it comes down to whether riding out the season — or some portion of it — makes more sense than finding a trade partner. Multiple league sources believe the Cavs’ best chance for a trade would be at the deadline, sending him to a contender looking for an additional piece with no financial commitment beyond the 2020-21 season. That gives rival executives a chance to evaluate where they stand financially and competitively.