It appears the wait is going to continue. After initially setting target dates of October 16 for the 2020 NBA Draft and October 18 for the start of free agency, the NBA is reportedly pushing those dates back again, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. New dates are yet to be determined, although the draft is still expected to take place in October.
The NBA and NBPA have agreed to push back key dates such as Oct. 16 draft, Oct. 18 free agency and 2020-21 season, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. New dates will be determined later.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 8, 2020
As of now, the NBA Finals are still expected to begin on September 30 and end by October 13, but it also appears the initial target date of December 1 for the beginning of the 2020-21 season is gone as well. In a recent interview with ESPN, Commissioner Adam Silver admitted that date now seems too soon.
“December 1, now that we’re working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me. I think our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. My sense is, in working with the Players Association, if we could push back even a little longer and it would increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would be targeting.”
Any date changes come with plenty of complications. Not only do both the league and Players Association have to agree, but some teams haven’t played since March and already face a dauntingly long offseason. Then again, teams who made it far into a compressed playoff schedule will need time to recuperate as well, so it’s a delicate balancing act.
Another potential road block is the Tokyo Olympics, which reportedly will happen next July, and plenty of NBA stars who took off from the 2019 FIBA World Cup are waiting for their chance to play for Gregg Popovich (and win a gold medal). There’s been no word one way or the other, but at this point it’s hard not to imagine either a compressed or shortened 2021 NBA season, or a possible “Olympics break” in loo of an All-Star one if the season stretches into or past next summer.