Marc J. Spears: Several changes to the NBA schedule: pic.twitter.com/MVCl44hyUz
More Rumors in this Storyline
A day after Golden State played its second of two straight games against Portland, Kerr said, “I don’t think fans want to see the same team back-to-back. I think they’d rather see them a few months apart. Teams change. Seeing us now compared to three months from now is totally different. That’s part of the fun part of being a fan. You get to see a team evolve.”
“If I were a fan and I came to the game against Portland that first night, I’d probably want to see somebody else the next night,” Kerr said. “I think we should always be thinking about our fans when it comes to how we schedule the games.”
In the not so distant past, fallible humans came up with the schedule for our sports leagues. It was a painstaking, manual process. In the NFL, the late Val Pinchbeck would slowly piece together the entire football slate on a giant pegboard. Other leagues had too many games to fit on a pegboard, but they employed similarly artisanal methods of mapping the future. Matt Winick was the NBA’s Val Pinchbeck, the man who slowly, personally constructed the 1,230 game schedule within a tornado of yellow legal pads. He did it for three decades, and in his latter years on the job, used the trappings of modernity as a means to shift blame. As Winick told Howard Beck in a 2015 Bleacher Report story: “I tell the teams, ‘Hey, that’s the way the computer did it. But it was never the computer. I was the computer.”
Both Winick and Pinchbeck now are beloved in sports league circles, even if teams were cursing their choices back then. These two are associated with a wilder, woolier, pre-corporate time when the future was more an act of invention than the manifestation of automated fatalism. Such a time cannot be sustained, though. These days, if Winick were still on the job, that computer excuse wouldn’t be a lie.
Efficiency is sought as you hit the big time. TV partners are paying out expensive contracts, like that $2.66 billion the NBA gets annually from ESPN and TNT. Nothing can be left to chance, so everything can’t be left to one man. As one NFL executive once told the Los Angeles Times, “In the 10 years that I’ve been doing this, the computer sophistication has grown exponentially. So now we have not only the ability but the mandate to take all these considerations in parallel.” The same article says of the recent changes, “There has been a significant paradigm shift since those days when the schedule was built, and then games were distributed to the networks. Now, TV is a consideration from the start, and there are several marquee games that are essentials around which the schedule is constructed.”
Indeed, the power of national television in the NBA ecosystem is such that the league has rushed back for an opening night in December despite having just ended its season in mid October — an extreme maneuver even if justified. The NBA set a sports record for shortest ever offseason against the protestations of LeBron James because a) Sacrificing Christmas Day games can’t happen and b) They never want to repeat the experience of losing playoff viewership to the NFL ever again.
The NBA’s fancy proprietary software, called “Game Scheduling System” or “the computer” more colloquially, drew up the lion’s share of this national TV schedule. In 2015, GSS officially took over for Matt Winick. These days, Head of NBA Basketball Strategy & Analytics Evan Wasch is the man with authority over the machine. Wasch, who’s increasingly gained a reputation as the league’s big ideas guy, is of a new generation. He’s a data driven former Sloan Conference presenter who helped introduce the All-Star Game Elam Ending.
Kyle Goon: A game that really sticks out to me is the Lakers at Philadelphia on Jan. 27, a year and a day since Kobe Bryant died, which will be on ESPN. The Lakers last game before he died was also in Philly against the Sixers, and I expect it will be an emotional night.
Each team will play 72 games in the 2020-21 season, facing each opponent in its conference three times (42 total games per team) and each opponent in the other conference twice (30 total games per team). In the First Half, each team will play 37 or 38 games, including a minimum of 17 home games and a maximum of 20. Nearly 52% of all regular-season games (558 of 1,080) have been scheduled for the First Half.
The schedule incorporates steps to reduce travel, including the use of a “series” model. In some instances where a team is scheduled to play twice in one market, those games have been scheduled to be played consecutively. Each team will play an average of four “series” in the First Half – two at home and two on the road. Additional steps include more instances of teams playing consecutive road games against teams that are geographically close, and roughly 50% fewer instances of teams making single-game road trips.
Shams Charania: Notable NBA season matchups: Bucks-Lakers in Milwaukee on Jan. 21 Lakers-Nets in LA on Feb. 18 Lakers-Heat in LA on Feb. 20 Nets-Clippers in LA on Feb. 21
Tim Reynolds: It’s NBA schedule time. The biggest change (besides it being 72 games instead of 82): Some teams will go to a city and play there twice before moving on. Story to come. Let me read this first.
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA’s Jan. 18 Martin Luther King Jr. Day schedule on TNT: Suns-Grizzlies in Memphis Bucks-Nets in Brooklyn Lakers-Warriors in LA 10-game schedule on MLK Day.
KC Johnson: Bulls official schedule out soon. An initial draft had Steph Curry and the Warriors here in season’s first week after they open season in Brooklyn, per source.
Anthony Slater: The Warriors don’t open at home until Jan. 1 against the Blazers, I’m told. They’ll face the Blazers again in the Chase Center two days later, on Jan. 3. Every team will have repetitive matchups this season. Part of the necessary scheduling oddities.
Shams Charania: Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets will visit the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 13 in a primetime Saturday night game, marking Durant’s return to the Bay, sources tell me and @Anthony Slater.
Stefan Bondy: The Knicks are scheduled to host Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the Nets on Jan. 13, according to a source. Russell Westbrook, now on the Wizards, is scheduled to play his old teammate Kevin Durant on Jan. 3, according to a source.
Fred Katz: SCHEDULE NEWS: John Wall’s return to DC as a member of the Rockets is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 15, according to a source. Russell Westbrook’s return to Houston scheduled tentatively for Jan. 26. The illustrious @Chase Hughes first with the news.
Stefan Bondy: The Knicks are opening their season Dec. 23 at the Indiana Pacers, according to a source.
Ira Winderman: NBA announces schedule will be released Friday.
Anthony Slater: Christmas in Milwaukee would signal the Warriors are starting the season on an extended east road swing. That’s the initial expectation within the franchise.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Tentative Christmas Day Schedule
Shams Charania: NBA Preseason begins on Dec. 11, running through Dec. 19: Lakers-Clippers, New York-Detroit, Orlando-Atlanta, Houston-Chicago, Sacramento-Portland.
Shams Charania: Full NBA Preseason schedule:
Kellan Olson: NBA announced the structure and format to the upcoming season, including the play-in tournament with the 7-10 seeds being official. Suns will have 3 games against each team in the West (42 games) and 2 games against each team in the East (30 games).
Fred Katz: NBA announces dates for the upcoming season: • Dec. 11-19: Preseason • Dec. 22-March 4: First Half of reg season • March 5-10: All-Star break • March 11-16: Second Half of reg season • May 18-21: Play-In Tournament • May 22 – July 22: Playoffs
Sean Cunningham: Unique feature with the NBA schedule this season, as it will be released in two segments. The first half of the season schedule released around the start of training camp, while the second is released during the latter part of the first half portion of the schedule.
Ian Begley: NBA announces details for 2020-21 scheduling;
Tim Reynolds: To be clear, this vote tonight doesn’t mean Opening Night is absolutely Dec. 22. But it does clearly suggest that the NBPA is on board, which obviously helps matters a great deal. Still have to work out those little things: Money, escrow, COVID protocols, etc.
The NBA will play a 72-game season, with training camps opening on Dec. 1, the regular season ending on May 16 and the Finals finishing no later than July 22, sources said. The NBA will play in markets, reduce their travel by 25 percent, and significantly reduce cross-country travel especially early in the season, sources said.
The N.B.A.’s goal is to complete the 2020-21 season before the Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled from July 23 to Aug. 8 in 2021. That would allow the league to avoid direct competition with the Olympics and set up the 2021-22 season to return to the N.B.A.’s usual October-through-June pattern. The plan is strongly preferred by the league’s primary media partners, Disney and Turner, following a summer and fall of dismal N.B.A. ratings in a crowded sports landscape, according to a person briefed on the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Shams Charania: The National Basketball Players Association has voted to tentatively approve NBA’s proposal for the 2020-21 campaign starting on Dec. 22 and playing 72-game season, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. NBA set to tip off Christmas week.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBPA player rep vote has completed, approving a December 22 start/72-game regular season, source tells ESPN. Next up: NBA/NBPA finishes financial terms on amended CBA, which will take into next week. Expect trade moratorium to be lifted shortly prior to Nov. 18 Draft.
Tim Reynolds: There’s no agreement on the money – yet – but the NBA’s player representatives have decided to back the notion of a Dec. 22 start to the season, AP is told. Talks between the union and league will continue on matters like escrow/COVID testing/etc.
Marc Stein: NBA team player representatives remain on course to huddle virtually later tonight to vote on the league’s proposal to start the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22 … with training camps opening Dec. 1 Two sources briefed on the latest describe union approval of that plan a “formality”
Bobby Marks: Escrow withholding does not impact a cap charge and the amount sent out in a trade (or how it impacts the luxury tax, cap space or hard cap). A $20M player is still $20M.
The National Basketball Players Association is planning to hold a vote on Thursday night or Friday morning regarding the Dec. 22 start format to the 2020-21 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told The Athletic.
The NBPA, led by executive director Michele Roberts, started formal conference calls with players from all 30 teams this week. Players have been holding calls with the NBPA beginning Monday and will go through Thursday morning. Players coming out of several meetings believe a Dec. 22 start is inevitable, sources said.
Shams Charania: NBA/NBPA are deciding between two ‘20-21 scenarios: – Dec. 22: 72 games, regular season ends mid-May, Finals finish around July 22, Christmas revenue – Jan. 18: 60 games, regular season ends in June, Finals end around Aug. 21
On a conference call with the league’s general managers on Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the top team basketball executives that “time is running out” on the possibility of starting the 2020-21 season prior to Christmas Day and potentially salvaging hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, sources told ESPN.
Discussions with the National Basketball Players Association continued over the weekend and into Monday, but the union’s reluctance to agree to a Dec. 22 start and a reduced 72-game regular season has left the league fearful it has only several days left before opening training camps around Dec. 1 for a pre-Christmas tip is no longer a realistic possibility, sources said.
Optimism still exists that an agreement can be reached on the pre-Christmas start, but it has been tempered in recent days, sources said. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and union leadership have been talking directly with players about starting the season so quickly after a mid-October finish to the Finals in the Orlando, Florida, bubble, and so far have expressed a preference for a mid-January start to the season. The NBA believes there is somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion in revenue losses next season and beyond by failing to start the season in December, sources said.
The NBA has pushed back to Friday a deadline that keeps open the option of terminating the collective bargaining agreement, which would essentially blow up the league’s financial structure that allows for a 50-50 split of basketball related income (BRI) under the provisions of the CBA. Because of the coronavirus pandemic triggering a force majeure clause in the CBA, both sides have the option of serving notice of 45 days on terminating the agreement, sources said.
The new goal of the league, sources said, is to put together a 72-game slate with reduced cross-country travel. In that scenario, the subsequent 2021-22 season can go off on its normal October-to-June trajectory — perhaps with New Yorkers packed together underneath the Garden’s famous ceiling again.
Marc Stein: NBA players may only be offered a 50-game season, I’m told, if the union insists on a mid-January start rather than the Dec. 22 proposal, because the league’s television partners do not want the 2020-21 season to stray past mid-July … or clash with the Tokyo Olympics
Marc Stein: A 50-game season would reduce player salaries significantly in 2020-21, since NBA pay adheres to a regular-season schedule The NBA’s 72-game model calls for teams to play roughly 14 games a month through May, followed by the playoffs through mid-July — before the Olympics begin
Tim Reynolds: Can confirm that the league’s television partners are adamant — they want to start Dec. 22, though what I’m hearing on a season potential end date is slightly different than what Marc has here (but he’s in the Hall of Fame and I’m barely allowed to buy a ticket to go there).
Kevin O’Connor: Sources: The NBA held a call this afternoon with team GMs & presidents to detail the plan for a 72-game season set to begin December 22 & end before the Olympics in July. The league intends to schedule games in a way that reduces travel by 25% with teams playing MLB style series.
Bobby Marks: There’s a path to getting a deal done between both sides but it’s going to take the players association to sell their members on why a 12/22 start is critical when it comes to future revenue. Starting in mid-January would be detrimental to the economic growth of the league.
With the NBA’s owners proposing to start next season around Christmas, should the players view it as an early holiday present? Or would they like to return the gift? “I don’t know what I think yet,” Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. “We are in the throes of discussing it and in the throes of evaluating what it means in terms of the revenue-related issues that have been raised. Frankly, we’re also spending some time trying to get information on what this means in respect to player health.”
Tatum said the NBA is still working through the auditing process with the National Basketball Players Association. The parties also need to agree on a start date for the next season. Tatum said the league learned a lot from its bubble environment and envisioned new capabilities because of 5G availability, which wireless carriers have been installing in sports arenas and stadiums around the country.
No decisions have been finalized on next season and talks with the National Basketball Players Association remain ongoing on many matters, including the financial parameters for the coming year. Those talks, especially on the money issue, would have to be concluded before any real decisions about next season are made. The NBPA has not made any final decisions on how it wants to see the league proceed, either. But this plan, starting in December and ending in June, would get the 2021-22 season — virus-permitting — back to normal, with 82-game slates starting in October.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is proposing several changes to next season that includes a 72-game regular season, a play-in tournament and the likelihood of no All-Star Game and All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, sources said. The league is considering a two-week break at the midway point of the season, sources said.
Around the league, there’s support to be playing again by Christmas, but a realization that it’s going to become a chaotic challenge coming out of a Nov. 18 draft, free agency and training camps that would need to be open shortly after Thanksgiving. Without a bubble environment, the NBA will be facing positive coronavirus tests for players and staff.
Josh Lewenberg: The Raptors remain hopeful they’ll be able to host games in Toronto next season, I’m told. Several contingency options have been discussed internally, in case thats not possible, but nothing’s imminent. Much is still unknown. Louisville was never on the table for the organization
Chris Mannix: A concern several team executives have expressed to @SInow about a late December start: Free agency. With training camps needing to open in early December, free agency would have to be crammed into a couple of weeks.
Chris Mannix: Something league officials are wary of: There have been predictions from health officials of significant COVID spikes over the holidays, specifically Thanksgiving. Coming back in a non-bubble environment may not be feasible in some parts of the country.
This would mean a return close to the NBA’s normal schedule, significant financial ramifications to start early, a potential finish before the 2021 Summer Olympics, and allow a window for stars to play in the Olympics, sources said. The NBA wants to continue to incorporate the play-in tournament that was utilized in the Orlando restart to determine the eighth seed in the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs, according to sources. ESPN first reported that a Christmas start and playing fewer than 82 games would be discussed on Friday’s call.
The National Basketball Players Association would need to sign off on any plan to start the season on Dec. 22. Around the NBA, league governors and executives — as well as star players — have become aware of the league aiming toward a start around Christmas Day, which is quicker than expected following an Oct. 11. end to the season. An increasing amount of those people also have warmed to the possibility due to the fact that it is in the best interest of returning to the NBA’s typical schedule, generating revenue.
“It may be too quick, but it also makes too much sense,” one high-ranking team official told The Athletic. The NBA suspended its season on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic, restarted on July 30 and crowned the 2019-20 champion this month. The league had no players test positive for the coronavirus during the four-month resumption.
USA Basketball has begun reaching out to star players to gauge their interest in the Olympics, should the end date of the 2020-21 season provide ample time to prepare for the Games, sources said. The NBA continues to prefer in-market play for the 2020-21 season — instead of a bubble or multiple bubbles. The league is also looking into ways to reduce travel during the season, including possibly playing a team multiple times.
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
The NBA is focusing on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 18) for a start date next season, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
It hasn’t been decided whether the NBA can implement a full 82-game schedule, especially with an emphasis on getting some level of attendance in areas and upholding the recently-developed standards concerning player rest, cutting down on the back-to-backs and heavy travel. The focus for next season, primarily, is getting things finished in a reasonable amount of time for the draft, free agency and rest in the summer of 2021 for a traditional mid-October start.
As of right now, Silver believes that the 2020-21 season will begin in January sometime and hopes it’ll be in a more normal fashion. “My sense is there will be some sort of return to normalcy,” Silver added. “That those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor. And I understand those people who are saying ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game,'” Silver said.
Jared Weiss: Adam Silver to @Rachel__Nichols: “I think the issue is with daily testing and rapid testing, can you contain (COVID) so it doesn’t rapidly spread.” He is continuing to observe NFL and MLB’s operations to inform how NBA attempts to pull off regular season at home arenas in 2021.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said recently that the earliest the 2020-21 NBA season could begin is January. The Hawks could potentially debut the jersey on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18 if next season begins in January, a source said.
Brad Townsend: Silver, asked for a realistic start date for next season: “I’ve said previously that the earliest we would start at this point is Christmas, but it may come and go. I’ve also said the greater likelihood is we’ll start in January.” Says players need a physical and mental break.
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
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
Views per day
January 21, 2021 | 5:59 pm EST Update
Chris Fedor: #Cavs J.B. Bickerstaff on going Allen over Drummond late “Decisions come down to in that moment & what I think is the best move for the group. I thought Jarrett was playing really well with the way he was protecting the paint & the way he was rebounding & his ability to switch”