Shams Charania: The NBA is targeting Dec. 22 for the start of the 2020-21 season and a 72-game campaign that finishes before the ‘21 Olympics, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Marc Stein: The league had never taken a Christmas Day start off the table, but all signs coming out of the Bubble pointed to next season being pushed into 2021 Christmas is obviously a huge day for the NBA and its broadcast partners ... but MUCH must happen quickly quickly to preserve it
There has been some discussion among owners about starting as soon as Christmas Day to take advantage of that historically prime NBA showcase, sources said. Though numerous teams contacted by ESPN over the last several days weren't sure such a timeline was feasible. Others have been pushing for a start around Martin Luther King Day weekend in mid-January, sources said.
As with so much during the current COVID-19 pandemic, such plans are constantly in flux. That course could ultimately be still followed, but in recent days some governors have pivoted and begun considering the quicker timeline. Others continue to want to hold out for fans to be permitted into more arenas.
The league also continues to discuss tournament and play-in scenarios. The NBA has long-planned to use this upcoming 75th anniversary season to experiment with new revenue-generating formats.
Any agreement between the governors on a course for next season would have to be taken to the National Basketball Players Association for approval. The two sides have met several times since the conclusion of the Finals to discuss the financial and scheduling challenges ahead. Oct. 30 is setting up to be a key date. The NBA and NBPA agreed that day would be the deadline to complete ongoing discussions on modifications to the collective bargaining agreement for the 2020-21 season, a date that requires the league or union to provide 45 days notice if either decides to terminate the CBA -- a scenario that sources continue to believe is a remote possibility.
It would also mark roughly eight weeks until Christmas. Silver has told the union that there would be at least eight weeks between an agreement and the formal starting of next season. Talks between the NBA and union have been productive on making the necessary financial allowances on 2020-2021 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds to account for the massive losses in revenues from the pandemic, sources said.
Ongoing talks are centering on increased escrow taken from players' salaries, sources said. The league and union are still awaiting full audits on the Basketball Related Income that accounts for the league's 51-49 revenue split with players. The NBA and NBPA are working on resetting of the 2020-21 salary-cap and luxury-tax numbers based upon those audits and financial projections for the next year. This allows for teams, agents and players to have more time to prepare for the financial realities of the pandemic's impact on the league. As the NBA Draft approaches on Nov. 18 -- and free agency expected to start soon after -- teams are anxious for the league to reach an agreement with the union and deliver them more certainty on the cap and tax bills.
September 20, 2021 | 9:35 pm EDT Update
Barry Jackson: Per source, Avery Bradley was very much open to a Heat return, but Heat was not interested in that, at this time.
“I went out to San Fran and worked out with Stephen Curry for four or five days. It was just great getting on the floor with him. I’ve been cool with Steph for a while ever since my high school days—[attending] one of his camps—so getting back with him and getting to the gym was awesome,” Michael Porter said.
“Definitely Nikola Jokic is a unique dude that I really respect. [I] would love to have him in the show. I got to bring it up to him still. I don’t even know if he knows about it because he’s not on social media or anything. People can learn a lot from that dude: he’s the MVP but he doesn’t really carry himself like he thinks he’s a superstar—he’s just a regular guy. “I respect his consistency on and off the court and who he is. He’s a funny guy, so I’m hoping to get him on there so that people can see a different side of Joker, too.”
Andrew Marchand: Richard Jefferson was not part of the ESPN’s new daily NBA show announcement because he and ESPN are in contract negotiations, according to sources. Jefferson has been hosting recently, which is where, we’re told, he hopes his future lies, along with being an analyst.