The National Basketball Association is looking to start its new season on Dec. 22 and play a 72-game season, multiple reports citing unidentified sources said.
Both The Athletic and ESPN quoted anonymous sources as saying the NBA league office had reported to its Board of Governors, comprised of representatives from its 30 teams, that its pre-Christmas start and shortened schedule plan would include a season without an All-Star Game or associated weekend festivities.
It is, however, considering a two-week midseason break and conclude before the start of the delayed Summer Olympics in July. Previous reports said the NBA planned to start no sooner than Christmas Day.
The plans still need to be approved by the players’ union, the NBA Players Association.
This past season was suspended on March 11 due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. It resumed on July 30 and finished with the Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Miami Heat in the playoff championship series on Oct. 11.
If the NBA begins its new season on Dec. 22, it would be only 72 games between seasons.
The NBA season has been 82 games long since 1967, typically beginning in mid to late October.
When the NBA returned from its hiatus during the summer, it reconvened in isolation at Walt Disney World’s sports complex near Orlando, Florida, which was referred to as ”the bubble,” to minimize exposure risk to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
However, NBA officials are hoping to avoid the bubble when it begins the new season, playing games in the NBA teams’ respective markets, similar to the way Major League Baseball conducted its return to play. The National Hockey League resumed its season similar to the NBA, playing games in isolation in Montreal and Edmonton, Alberta, due to Canada not allowing cross-border travel.
It is not clear how the NBA would address games for the league’s lone Canadian club, the Toronto Raptors.
National Football League and Major League Soccer have been similar, playing games in the respective markets and allowing a limited capacity of spectators depending on local restrictions.
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