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Report: NBA targeting Dec. 22 start date, 72-game season for 2020-21

The NBA Board of Governors held a meeting on Friday and reports are saying that next season could begin before Christmas.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media prior to the game of the Miami Heat against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game one of the 2020 NBA Finals as part of the NBA Restart 2020 on September 30, 2020 at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE: One big development here if the season starts in December. There could be no All-Star Game, per Woj. Nothing is final but it will be discussed.

Woj has some more details behind the early return to play for the NBA. Their thinking is that if the Covid-19 virus doesn’t get a vaccine any time soon and fans won’t be allowed to return at full capacity, why wait on basketball? This could mean the NBA adopts the bubble concept again, perhaps in specific regions rather than having every team go to Orlando.

The NBA held a Board of Governors meeting on Friday afternoon and it’s being reported that the 2020-21 season could start as early as December 22nd, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The season was being projected to start some time in January by commissioner Adam Silver. The early start date means the NBA is looking at an abbreviated 72-game campaign rather than 82 games as normal, per Shams. This would mean the season finishes before the 2021 Olympic games.

The 2020 NBA Draft is set for November 18th and we can expect free agency to begin shortly after that considering the League wants to start toward the end of December. Usually free agency lasts a few months. Now it’s looking like it will only last a matter of weeks before the season gets going again. This is a very expedited timeline, one that is looking much faster than originally thought. Remember, it’s only a report at this point. We need confirmation from Silver on these dates.

The idea around the early start date is to get the NBA schedule somewhat back to normal. An interesting nugget from Shams report is that the NBA wants to incorporate the play-in tournament that was popular in the NBA bubble this past season. ESPN had initially reported a Christmas Day start date. The NBPA would need to sign off on the Dec. 22 start date, which could make things interesting.