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Sources: The NBA is considering a December start, 72-game regular season

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Basketball might be back sooner than expected!

San Antonio Spurs v Utah Jazz Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2020-21 NBA season might still be just that if the league’s new proposal for the season goes through. According to ESPN, sources are saying the NBA is pursuing a pre-Christmas start date (around Dec. 21) and reducing the regular-season schedule to 72 games with a goal to finish the season before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. There also would not be an All-Star game, but the play-in tournament would return.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is proposing several changes to next season that include a 72-game regular season, a play-in tournament and the likelihood of no All-Star Game or All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, sources said. The league is considering a two-week break at the midway point of the season, sources said.

The biggest reason the NBA had been eying times reportedly as late as February for the new season to start was in hopes of getting fans back into the arena. The new proposal would require abandoning that idea, but there are currently no plans for another Bubble environment. Games would simply be played in the home team’s empty arena. The players union is reportedly receptive to this idea.

It would create a hectic time from November 18 (the date of the 2020 NBA Draft) to December 21, with free agency and training camp the squeeze in. There is no mention of there being any preseason games, but odds are there would not be enough time unless training camp started immediately after the draft (which would be awkward for free agents).

The last thing to figure out will be financial adjustments, as fan participation makes up roughly 40% of the NBA’s revenue.

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 revenue 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 the 2020-21 salary-cap and luxury-tax numbers based upon those audits and financial projections for the next year.

What do you think, Pounders? Do you support the idea of an earlier, fan-less start that doesn’t interfere with the Olympics? Is a 72-game season with a play-in tournament a possible glimpse at the future of the league, which has been considering ways to shorten the regular season and level the playoff field a bit over the years? Feel free to discuss in the comments below.